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This article is the author’s final published version in World Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 26, Issue 27, July 2020, Pages 3938-3951.

The published version is available at Copyright © Huang et al.


BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) differ in treatment and prognosis, warranting an effective differential diagnosis between them. The LR-M category in the contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) liver imaging reporting and data system (LI-RADS) was set up for lesions that are malignant but not specific to HCC. However, a substantial number of HCC cases in this category elevated the diagnostic challenge.

AIM: To investigate the possibility and efficacy of differentiating ICC from HCC classified in the LR-M category according to the CEUS LI-RADS.

METHODS: Patients with complete CEUS records together with pathologically confirmed ICC and LR-M HCC (HCC classified in the CEUS LI-RADS LR-M category) between January 2015 and October 2018 were included in this retrospective study. Each ICC was assigned a category as per the CEUS LI-RADS. The enhancement pattern, washout timing, and washout degree between the ICC and LR-M HCC were compared using the

RESULTS: A total of 228 nodules (99 ICCs and 129 LR-M HCCs) in 228 patients were included. The mean sizes of ICC and LR-M HCC were 6.3 ± 2.8 cm and 5.5 ± 3.5 cm, respectively (

CONCLUSION: Rim APHE is a key predictor for differentiating ICC from LR-M HCC. Rim APHE plus elevated CA 19-9 and normal AFP is a strong predictor of ICC rather than LR-M HCC. Early washout and marked washout have limited value for the differentiation between the two entities.

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