OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of globular enhancement for differentiating hepatic hemangiomas from hypervascular metastases on single-pass, contrast-enhanced CT scans. Globular enhancement was defined as enhancing nodules less than 1 cm seen within a lesion. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Fifty CT examinations were retrospectively evaluated in a blinded fashion by two independent reviewers. The CT studies were done with nonhelical technique after the IV injection of 150 ml of contrast material. The series included 25 patients with histologically proven hypervascular hepatic metastases (carcinoid, islet cell carcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma) and 25 patients with clinically proven hepatic hemangiomas. Patients with hemangiomas were clinically stable for at least 2 years after the CT studies. A single lesion was isolated from the first-pass, contrast-enhanced portion of each examination; the remainder of the examination was excluded from the review to minimize reviewer bias. Each lesion was evaluated for (1) the presence or absence of globular enhancement (defined as enhancing nodules less than 1 cm seen within a lesion), (2) the density of globular enhancement relative to that of the aorta, (3) the degree of border definition (well or poorly marginated), and (4) the presence or absence of a hypodense halo. A diagnostic impression was then recorded for each lesion. RESULTS. Globular enhancement was 88% sensitive and 84-100% specific for differentiating hepatic hemangiomas from hypervascular metastases (p < .001). A mean of 62% of hemangiomas showed globular enhancement isodense relative to that of the aorta; none of the metastases showed globular, isodense enhancement. The majority of the metastases showed nonglobular enhancement (mean, 92%). The reviewers showed 84% agreement in the identification of (1) globular enhancement in hemangiomas, (2) lack of globular enhancement in metastases, and (3) globular enhancement in the combined set of all lesions. Neither the presence of a hypodense halo nor the degree of border definition was significant in distinguishing between the two groups of lesions. The reviewers showed 96% agreement in the categorization of matastases and 76% agreement in the categorization of hemangiomas. There was 86% agreement in the categorization of all lesions. Overall, reviewers diagnosed a mean of 89% of lesions correctly. A mean of 98% of metastases and a mean of 80% of hemangiomas were diagnosed correctly. CONCLUSION. Globular enhancement is highly sensitive (88%) and specific (84100%) for differentiating hepatic hemangiomas from hypervascular metastases on single- pass, contrast-enhanced CT scans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging