Optimal criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis using CT in patients undergoing liver transplantation

Nieun Seo, Myoung Soo Kim, Mi Suk Park, Jin Young Choi, Chansik An, Kyunghwa Han, Seung Up Kim, Dong Jin Joo, Myeong Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To compare the diagnostic performance of various guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosis using computed tomography (CT) in patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT). Methods: In total, 216 patients who underwent preoperative CT and subsequent LT were included. Two radiologists retrospectively evaluated focal hepatic lesions independently according to various guidelines and allocated patients according to the Milan criteria. The diagnostic performance of the guidelines was compared using alternative free-response receiver-operating characteristics (AFROC) analysis with bootstrapping. Comparisons of sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of patient allocation based on the Milan criteria between guidelines were performed using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations (GEE). Results: Fifty-two of 216 patients had 87 HCCs. The reader-averaged figure of merit obtained using AFROC analysis was 0.738 for the AASLD/EASL or KLCSG-NCC guidelines and 0.728 for the LI-RADS v2014 or OPTN/UNOS (bootstrapping, p = 0.005). The per-lesion sensitivity for HCCs (all and 1–2-cm lesions) was significantly higher with the AASLD/EASL (37.9–41.4% and 30.8–41.0%) than with LI-RADS (28.7% and 15.4–18.0%) (logistic regression with GEE, p = 0.008 and 0.030 for reader 1 and p = 0.005 for reader 2). The per-patient specificity (98.8–99.4%) was the same for all guidelines. The accuracy of the Milan criteria was 81.5–83.3% without significant differences among the four guidelines (logistic regression with GEE, p > 0.05). Conclusion: AASLD/EASL showed higher diagnostic performance and sensitivity, particularly for 1–2-cm HCCs, and the same specificity with LI-RADS. All guidelines are comparable for patient allocation based on the Milan criteria for LT. Key Points: • The overall diagnostic performance of CT for HCC diagnosis was highest with AASLD/EASL. • AASLD/EASL showed higher sensitivity for diagnosis of 1–2-cm HCCs than LI-RADS. • The accuracy of the Milan criteria using CT was comparable among the four guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1031
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Alternative free-response receiver operating characteristics Computed tomography European Association for the Study of the Liver European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Figure of merit Generalized estimating equation Hepatocellular carcinoma Korean Liver Cancer Study Group and the National Cancer Center Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System Liver transplantation Milan criteria Magnetic resonance imaging Organ Procurement and Transplant Network United Network for Organ Sharing

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, European Society of Radiology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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