BioScience Trends. 2017;11(3):340-345. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2017.01110)

Clinical correspondence to hepatocellular carcinoma-related lesions with atypical radiological pattern.

Higaki T, Midorikawa Y, Nakashima Y, Nakayama H, Matsuoka S, Moriyama M, Sugitani M, Takayama T


In patients at risk of hepatocarcinogenesis, tumors are frequently detected with atypical radiological patterns related to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on imaging studies. Despite their high potential for malignancy, whether to resect such lesions immediately is controversial. Based on histological findings, patients with non-enhanced tumors or enhanced tumors without washout were divided into two groups: those with tumors that should be treated containing well, moderately, and poorly differentiated HCC (Group 1), and those that can be observed containing early HCC, hepatocellular adenoma, focal nodular hyperplasia, dysplastic nodules, and regenerative nodules (Group 2), and we elucidated the clinical correspondence to these tumors. Seventy-two patients had a single tumor with atypical radiological pattern: 39 patients had HCC (Group 1), while 33 patients had benign tumors or early HCC (Group 2). Among nine baseline variables, serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) level in Group 1 (median, 13.2 ng/mL; range, 0.6-5881.6) was significantly higher than that in Group 2 (5.6 ng/mL; 0.8-86.3, P = 0.003). The cut-off value of AFP was 36.4 ng/mL for prediction of Group 1, and the median overall and recurrence-free survival periods of 23 patients in the high-AFP (≥ 36.4 ng/mL) group (5.3 years; 95%CI, 2.1 – N.A. and 1.6 years; 0.5-2.2) were significantly shorter than those of the 49 patients in the low-AFP (< 36.4) group (7.5 years; 7.5 – N.A., P = 0.047, and 2.8 years; 1.9-3.3, P = 0.001). Taken together, HCC-related tumors with an atypical radiological pattern could be observed unless serum AFP level is elevated.

KEYWORDS: α-fetoprotein, atypical radiological pattern, benign liver tumor, hepatocellular carcinoma

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