PURPOSE: To use computed tomography (CT) during arterial portography (CTAP) and CT arteriography to compare the hemodynamic properties of early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with those of small HCC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-four early HCCs (mean diameter, 1.5 cm) in 37 patients (26 men and 11 women aged 52-74 years; mean age, 59.2 years) were studied. CTAP was performed on 35 early HCCs, CT arteriography on 20, and both studies on 11. CTAP, CT arteriography, or both were performed on 90 small HCCs (mean diameter, 2.0 cm) in 57 patients (44 men and 13 women aged 48-71 years; mean age, 61 years). The findings for small HCC were compared with those for early HCC. RESULTS: CTAP depicted 23 early HCCs as hypoattenuating masses and 12 as isoattenuating. CT arteriography depicted 11 early HCCs as hypoattenuating masses, six as isoattenuating, and three as hyperattenuating. CTAP depicted 85 of 88 small HCCs as hypoattenuating masses and three as isoattenuating. CT arteriography depicted 13 of 14 small HCCs as hyperattenuating masses. CONCLUSION: CTAP, the standard of reference for the detection of small HCC, is not sensitive enough for the detection of early HCC.
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