Contrast-enhanced CT of intrahepatic and hilar cholangiocarcinoma: delay time for optimal imaging.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal time for obtaining delayed images with contrast-enhanced CT in patients who have intrahepatic or hilar cholangiocarcinoma. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: CT studies were performed in 25 consecutive patients with proven cholangiocarcinoma, including six patients who had undergone radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Dynamic images of the liver were obtained after 150 ml of IV contrast material was administered at 3 ml/sec. Delayed CT images were then obtained at 10, 20, and 30 min. Tumor-liver attenuation difference was determined quantitatively for each time period. Images were qualitatively evaluated by three observers for attenuation of the tumor (hypoattenuating, isoattenuating, or hyperattenuating) relative to the liver. Observer confidence for tumor detection was graded on a four-point scale. Dynamic and delayed images were compared for tumor conspicuity. RESULTS: On dynamic images, 18 tumors (72%) were hypoattenuating, six (24%) were isoattenuating, and one was heterogeneous. On delayed images, 15 (60%) of these 25 tumors were isoattenuating and nine (36%) were hyperattenuating compared with the liver. Tumor-liver attenuation difference was greatest on dynamic studies (p < .01) and did not differ significantly among the three delay times (p > .20). All tumors seen on delayed images were also seen on dynamic images; however, in three patients (12%), the confidence level for presence of tumor was better on delayed than on dynamic images. Confidence levels for presence of tumor did not vary significantly among the three delay times. Attenuation values on dynamic and delayed images did not differ for the groups of patients who had or had not undergone prior radiotherapy or chemotherapy (p > .05). CONCLUSION: In the evaluation of hilar or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, delayed CT images are helpful for tumor characterization and may improve observer confidence for the presence of tumor. The optimal time for acquisition of delayed images is 10-20 min after contrast media injection.
Keogan, MT; Seabourn, JT; Paulson, EK; McDermott, VG; Delong, DM; Nelson, RC
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