To find potentially diagnostic texture analysis (TA) features and to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of two-dimensional (2D) magnetic resonance (MR) TA for differentiation between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and benign hepatocellular tumors in the non-cirrhotic liver in an exploratory MR-study.
Materials and methods
108 non-cirrhotic patients (62 female; 41.5 ± 18.3 years) undergoing preoperative contrast-enhanced MRI were retrospectively included in this multi-center-study. TA including gray-level histogram, co-occurrence and run-length matrix features (total 19 features) was performed by two independent readers. Native fat-saturated-T1w and T2w as well as arterial and portal-venous post contrast-enhanced 2D-image-slices were assessed. Conventional reading was performed by two separate independent readers. Differences in TA features between HCC and benign lesions were investigated using independent sample t-tests. Logistic regression analysis was performed to obtain the optimal number/combination of TA-features and diagnostic accuracy of TA analysis. Sensitivity and specificity of the better performing radiologist were compared to TA analysis.
The highest number of significantly differing TA-features (n = 5) was found using the arterial-phase images including one gray-level histogram (skewness, p = 0.018) and four run-length matrix features (all, p < 0.02). The optimal binary logistic regression model for TA-features of the arterial-phase images contained 13 parameters with an accuracy of 84.5% (sensitivity 84.1%, specificity 84.9%) and area-under-the-curve of 0.92 (95%-confidence-interval 0.85-0.98) for diagnosis of HCC. Conventional reading yielded a significantly lower sensitivity (63.6%, p = 0.027) and no significant difference in specificity (94.6%, p = 0.289) at best.
2D-TA of MR images is a feasible objective method that may help to distinguish HCC from benign hepatocellular tumors in the non-cirrhotic liver. Most promising results were found in TA features in the arterial phase images.