2011 Volume 50 Issue 11 Pages 1193-1199
We report a patient with alcoholic liver cirrhosis who had a 15 mm focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH)-like nodule in the liver. This FNH-like nodule was diagnosed as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mainly based on hypervascularity during the hepatic arterial phase, washout pattern during the equilibrium phase and low signal intensity during the hepatobiliary phase in gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced MRI; it was surgically resected. Its histology exhibited hepatocyte hyperplasia, fibrous septa containing unpaired small arteries accompanied by reactive bile ductules, remarkable iron deposits and sinusoidal capillarization, and was compatible with the diagnosis of an FNH-like nodule. When we analyzed the images of the present nodule retrospectively, low signal intensity on in-phase and isosignal intensity on opposed-phase T1-weighted MRI may have reflected iron deposits in the FNH-like nodule. In addition, a low signal intensity on T2-weighted MRI and no detection in diffusion-weighted MRI may help in distinguishing FNH-like nodules from HCC, since these image findings are inconsistent with typical HCC. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a markedly reduced expression of organic anion transporter (OATP) 1B3 in this nodule, which implied decreased Gd-EOB-DTPA uptake by hepatocytes and accounted for the low signal intensity during the hepatobiliary phase on Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report in which an FNH-like nodule was assessed for OATP1B3 expression.