Liver metastases of neuroendocrine tumors: is it possible to diagnose different histologic subtypes depending on multiphasic CT features?
Abdom Radiol (NY). 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1007/s00261-019-01963-y. [Epub ahead of print]
Gulpinar B1, Peker E2, Kul M2, Elhan AH3, Haliloglu N2.
PURPOSE: To assess and compare the multiphasic computed tomography (CT) features of neuroendocrine tumor (NET) liver metastases and to investigate the possibility to predict the histologic subtype of the primary tumor.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between January 2013 and December 2017 patients with biopsy proven NET with at least one liver metastasis who underwent multiphasic CT were enrolled in this study. All cases were acquired using a standardized multiphasic liver CT protocol, arterial, portal, and hepatic venous phases were obtained. Images were retrospectively analyzed in consensus by two abdominal radiologists blinded to clinical data and histologic subtype. The size, number, and location of lesions were noted. Enhancement patterns of each lesion on arterial, portal, and hepatic venous phases were assessed. For quantitative analysis, CT attenuation of tumors, liver parenchyma, and aorta were measured using a circular region of interest (ROI) on arterial, portal, and hepatic venous phases for reflecting the blood supply of the tumor. Tumor-to-aorta and tumor-to-liver ratio were calculated in all three phases. Differences between subtypes of NET liver metastases were studied using ROC analysis of clustered data.
RESULTS: A total of 255 neuroendocrine tumor liver metastases divided into 101 (39.6%) pancreatic, 60 (23.5%) gastroenteric and 94 (36.8%) lung NET liver metastases were analyzed. Contrast enhancement of lesions was homogeneous in 78% of patients (n = 199), which was significantly more frequent in patients with pancreatic group than in those with gastroenteric origin (n = 90, 89.1% vs. n = 28, 46.7%; p < 0.001). Gastroenteric NET metastases frequently showed heterogeneous enhancement, which was significantly higher than in the other two groups (50% vs. 3% and 2%). With respect to the location of the primary tumor, the difference in enhancement patterns of the liver lesions was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Pancreatic NET metastases were mostly hyperdense on arterial images and isodense on portal and hepatic venous phase images (79.2%, n = 80). Gastroenteric NET metastases were mostly hyperdense on arterial phase images and hypodense on portal and hepatic venous phase images (n = 28, 46.7%). The most frequent pattern for lung NET metastases was hypoattenuation on all three phase images (n = 44, 46.8%). ROC analysis of clustered data revealed statistically significant differences between pancreatic NET liver metastases, gastroenteric NET liver metastases, and lung NET liver metastases in terms of tumor-to-aorta (T-A) ratio and tumor-to-liver (T-L) ratio (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: We observed statistically significant differences in multiphasic CT features (enhancement pattern, T-A ratio, and T-L ratio) between histologic subtypes of NET liver metastases. As the difference in histological subtypes of NET liver metastases results in a different prognosis and different management strategy, these CT features might help to identify the primary tumor when it is not known to ensure accurate tumor staging and to provide optimal treatment.
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