Published online Sep 6, 2018. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v6.i9.242
Peer-review started: April 27, 2018
First decision: May 23, 2018
Revised: July 5, 2018
Accepted: August 1, 2018
Article in press: August 1, 2018
Published online: September 6, 2018
Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC) includes hepatocellular carcinoma, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and other pathological types and is characterized by rapid progression. Most of the clinical diagnoses are made at late stage or when distant metastasis occurs, increasing the difficulty of treatment and resulting in a poor prognosis. Therefore, the early diagnosis of PHC plays an important role in timely treatment and the improvement of prognosis. The gold standard for the diagnosis of primary liver cancer is liver biopsy, but it has limitations as an invasive examination. Presently, imaging has become the first choice for the diagnosis of liver cancer. We here summarize the new methods and techniques of imaging in diagnosis and evaluation of primary liver cancer in recent years, including ultrasonography, computed tomography perfusion imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging technology-voxel incoherent motion, diffusion tensor imaging, iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least squares estimation-iron quantification, dynamic enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and hepatocyte-specific contrast medium imaging. Imaging diagnosis can not only evaluate the degree of differentiation, blood supply and perfusion, and invasiveness of the lesion, but also predict the prognosis, evaluate liver function, and provide references for clinical diagnosis and treatment.
Core tip: Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC) is one of the most serious malignant tumors with high morbidity and mortality. It is the fifth leading cancer worldwide and third most common cause of cancer-related death. Early diagnosis of PHC plays an important role in timely treatment and improvement of prognosis. An ideal imaging technique should be chosen early and used promptly to make a qualitative diagnosis. The progress made in imaging techniques has offered new diagnostic methods for the study of liver cancer. This review outlines the diagnostic value of imaging in patients with PHC.