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World J Gastroenterol. Nov 14, 2011; 17(42): 4654-4659
Published online Nov 14, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i42.4654
Imaging diagnosis of colorectal liver metastases
Ling-Hui Xu, San-Jun Cai, Guo-Xiang Cai, Wei-Jun Peng
Ling-Hui Xu, San-Jun Cai, Guo-Xiang Cai, Wei-Jun Peng, Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
Ling-Hui Xu, Wei-Jun Peng, Department of Radiology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai 200032, China
San-Jun Cai, Guo-Xiang Cai, Department of Colorectal Surgery, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai 200032, China
Author contributions: Xu LH wrote the paper; Peng WJ wrote the outline and revised the manuscript; Cai SJ and Cai GX gave valuable advice on writing and helped to revise part of this manuscript.
Correspondence to: Wei-Jun Peng, MD, Department of Radiology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, 270 Dong An Road, Shanghai 200032, China.
Telephone: +86-21-64433384 Fax: +86-21-64433384
Received: March 31, 2011
Revised: June 15, 2011
Accepted: June 22, 2011
Published online: November 14, 2011

Rapid advances in imaging technology have improved the detection, characterization and staging of colorectal liver metastases. Multi-modality imaging approach is usually the more useful in diagnosis colorectal liver metastases. It is well established that hepatic resection improves the long-term prognosis of many patients with liver metastases. However, incomplete resection does not prolong survival, so knowledge of the exact extent of intra-hepatic disease is crucially important in determining patient management and outcome. The diagnosis of liver metastases relies first and totally on imaging to decide which patients may be surgical candidates. This review will discuss the imaging options and their appropriate indications. Imaging and evaluating of colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) have been performed with contrast-enhanced ultrasound, multi-detector computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with extra-cellular contrast media and liver-specific contrast media MRI, and positron emission tomography/computed tomography. This review will concentrate on the imaging approach of CRLM, and also discuss certain characteristics of some liver lesions. We aim to highlight the advantages of each imaging technique, as well as underscoring potential pitfalls and limitations.

Keywords: Liver metastasis, Colorectal cancer, Imaging-modality, Diagnosis