Magnetic resonance imaging of the solitary hepatic mass: Direct correlation with pathology and computed tomography
Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the liver were obtained using a combination of short time inversion recovery (STIR) and spin echo (SE) sequences. These were correlated with comparable tissue slices generated from resected specimens obtained at partial hepatectomy. All 10 cases appeared to have solitary masses on contrast enhanced computed tomography (CT). Histological examination revealed five primary tumours (two hepatocellular carcinomas, two haemangiomas and one cholangiocarcinoma) and five metastatic tumours. The STIR images demonstrated a high signal intensity in all areas of viable tumour involvement and reduced signal intensity in regions of confluent necrosis with superimposed haemorrhage or calcification. This sequence also demonstrated additional areas of high signal intensity adjacent to several lesions which were not visible on CT. Microscopy of these regions in the specimens demonstrated no tumour involvement or steatosis and their precise cause remains obscure. All the lesions demonstrated on the CT images were visible on MRI and no additional lesions were discovered on detailed microscopical examination of the specimens. Delineation of the extent of the cholangiocarcinoma was a problem with both techniques. MRI showed no major advantage over CT except for a higher contrast of the lesion compared with normal liver and also a better delineation of the tumour mass.