Assessment of Microvascular Invasion of Hepatocellular Carcinoma with Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging

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Increased mean kurtosis value and the presence of irregular circumferential enhancement were independent risk factors for predicting microvascular invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma.


To evaluate the potential role of diffusion kurtosis imaging and conventional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings including standard monoexponential model of diffusion-weighted imaging and morphologic features for preoperative prediction of microvascular invasion (MVI) of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Materials and Methods

Institutional review board approval and written informed consent were obtained. Between September 2015 and November 2016, 84 patients (median age, 54 years; range, 29–79 years) with 92 histopathologically confirmed HCCs (40 MVI-positive lesions and 52 MVI-negative lesions) were analyzed. Preoperative MR imaging examinations including diffusion kurtosis imaging (b values: 0, 200, 500, 1000, 1500, and 2000 sec/mm2) were performed and kurtosis, diffusivity, and apparent diffusion coefficient maps were calculated. Morphologic features of conventional MR images were also evaluated. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the relative value of these parameters as potential predictors of MVI.


Features significantly related to MVI of HCC at univariate analysis were increased mean kurtosis value (P < .001), decreased mean diffusivity value (P = .033) and apparent diffusion coefficient value (P = .011), and presence of infiltrative border with irregular shape (P = .005) and irregular circumferential enhancement (P = .026). At multivariate analysis, mean kurtosis value (odds ratio, 6.25; P = .001), as well as irregular circumferential enhancement (odds ratio, 6.92; P = .046), were independent risk factors for MVI of HCC. The mean kurtosis value for MVI of HCC showed an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.784 (optimal cutoff value was 0.917).


Higher mean kurtosis values in combination with irregular circumferential enhancement are potential predictive biomarkers for MVI of HCC.

© RSNA, 2017


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Article History

Received March 3, 2017; revision requested May 4; revision received May 23; accepted June 22; final version accepted July 13.
Published online: Sept 22 2017
Published in print: Feb 2018