Comparison of unenhanced, hepatic arterial-dominant, and portal venous-dominant phase helical CT for the detection of liver metastases in women with breast carcinoma.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate triple-phase helical CT for detection of hepatic metastases from breast carcinoma. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Breast cancer patients were studied prospectively with triple-phase helical CT in 300 consecutive examinations. Hepatic arterial-dominant and portal venous-dominant phase scans were initiated at 20 and 65 sec, respectively, after IV injection of 175 ml of iopamidol (30 mg/ml) at 5 ml/sec. Three independent observers each reviewed 200 cases of the portal venous-dominant phase for lesion number, conspicuity, and attenuation. Subsequently, portal venous-dominant phase images were reevaluated in conjunction with hepatic arterial-dominant phase or unenhanced images. RESULTS: Hepatic metastases were identified in 79 (26%) of 300 cases. Lesions detected on portal venous-dominant, hepatic arterial-dominant, and unenhanced images were as follows: observer 1, n = 198, 164, and 171; observer 2, n = 254, 233, and 233; and observer 3, n = 291, 270, and 276 (p > .05). The mean total lesion count was 387, with more lesions detected on portal venous-dominant phase than on either hepatic arterial-dominant phase or unenhanced images (p < .001 and p < .0001, respectively). For individual observers, 10-26% of lesions were hypervascular on hepatic arterial-dominant phase images. Two to 4% of lesions were identified only on hepatic arterial-dominant phase or unenhanced images. However, in these few cases, the lesions either were false-positives or were seen in conjunction with additional metastases on portal venous-dominant images. CONCLUSION: Routine use of triple-phase CT in patients with breast carcinoma may not be warranted: Addition of the hepatic arterial-dominant phase or unenhanced images revealed few additional lesions in our group of 300 patients.
Sheafor, DH; Frederick, MG; Paulson, EK; Keogan, MT; DeLong, DM; Nelson, RC
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