Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common primary hepatic tumor in dogs and is amenable to surgical resection in many cases. Unfortunately, overlap of sonographic findings between benign and malignant hepatic lesions typically requires more invasive diagnostic tests to be performed (e.g., biopsy for histopathology). The availability of a noninvasive diagnostic test to identify hepatocellular carcinoma would be beneficial. The use of a liver-specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent such as gadoxetate disodium (Gd-EOB-DTPA; Eovist® or Primovist®) has improved lesion detection in human patients. In this descriptive study, gadoxetate disodium contrast-enhanced MRI characteristics in dogs were evaluated in seven dogs (total of eight lesions). The imaging characteristics were variable with the exception of all lesions being hypointense to surrounding normal hepatic parenchyma on 3D T1-weighted gradient recalled echo images at all postcontrast time points. All lesions displayed signal intensity ratios less than 1, consistent with retained but impaired hepatocyte function. Hepatic lesions not identified on previous imaging were found in 3/7 patients which may affect surgical planning. In two patients, several hepatic nodules were identified during surgery which had not been visualized on MRI and were found to be benign on histopathology. This descriptive study reports the MRI characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma in dogs using the liver-specific contrast agent gadoxetate disodium.
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© 2016 American College of Veterinary Radiology