CT of the liver in patients with metastatic breast carcinoma treated by chemotherapy: findings simulating cirrhosis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Although the hepatotoxic effects of systemic chemotherapy are well known, CT findings in the liver after systemic chemotherapy have received little attention in the literature. In some patients with breast carcinoma metastatic to the liver who have received chemotherapy, a morphologic pattern develops similar to that associated with cirrhosis. This pattern is characterized by a lobular hepatic contour, segmental volume loss, and enlargement of the caudate lobe. The purpose of this study was to describe the CT appearance of this pseudocirrhosis and to correlate it with pathologic findings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed 65 CT examinations of 22 patients with stage IV breast carcinoma with hepatic metastases, who were receiving systemic chemotherapy and for whom abdominal CT scans showed pseudocirrhosis. Nineteen of 22 patients had follow-up CT scans at intervals ranging from 1 to 15 months. Criteria for the diagnosis of pseudocirrhosis included a lobular hepatic contour, segmental volume loss, and enlargement of the caudate lobe. CT findings were correlated with pathologic findings in seven patients. RESULTS: In all patients, CT scans showed retraction of the capsular surface of the liver (15 diffuse, seven focal) with a lobular margin, a finding also seen in advanced cirrhosis. The retraction occurred at the site of subjacent metastases. Findings evolved over 1-3 months. Six of seven patients had pathologic findings suggestive of nodular regenerative hyperplasia. No patients had pathologic evidence of cirrhosis. CONCLUSION: In patients undergoing systemic chemotherapy for breast cancer metastatic to the liver, a pattern may develop that mimics the CT appearance of hepatic cirrhosis. Pathologic findings suggest nodular regenerative hyperplasia as a possible cause.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Young, ST; Paulson, EK; Washington, K; Gulliver, DJ; Vredenburgh, JJ; Baker, ME

Published Date

  • December 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 163 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1385 - 1388

PubMed ID

  • 7992734

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0361-803X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2214/ajr.163.6.7992734


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States