Differences in liver imaging and reporting data system categorization between MRI and CT

Michael T Corwin, Ghaneh Fananapazir, Michael Jin, Ramit Lamba, Mustafa R. Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine whether focal liver observations are categorized differently by CT and MRI using the Liver Imaging and Reporting Data System (LI-RADS). MATERIALS AND METHODS. We performed a retrospective review of 58 patients at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma who underwent liver protocol CT and MRI within 1 month of each other. Two readers assigned a LI-RADS category for all focal liver observations in consensus. A significant category upgrade was defined as a change from LI-RADS categories 1 and 2 or nonvisualization to LI-RADS categories 3-5, from LI-RADS category 3 to category 4 or 5, from LI-RADS category 4 to category 5, or from any category to LI-RADS category 5V. A significant downgrade was defined as a change from LI-RADS category 5 to categories 1-4, from LI-RADS category 4 to categories 1-3, or from LI-RADS category 3 to categories 1 or 2. RESULTS. The LI-RADS category was different between CT and MRI for 77.2% (176/228) of observations. A significant upgrade occurred on MRI for 42.5% (97/228) of observations because of nonvisualization by CT (n = 78), capsule (n = 8), arterial hyperenhancement (n = 4), intratumoral fat (n = 2), larger size (n = 2), tumor in portal vein (n = 2), and washout (n = 1). Of these 97 upgraded observations, two were upgraded to LI-RADS category 5V, 15 were upgraded to category 5, and 13 were upgraded to category 4. A significant downgrade occurred on MRI for 8.8% (20/228) of observations because of marked T2 hyperintensity (n = 14), smaller size (n = 2), wedge shape (n = 2), and marked T2 hypointensity (n = 2). CONCLUSION. LI-RADS categorization of focal liver observations is dependent on imaging modality. MRI results in both upgraded and downgraded categorization compared with CT in an important proportion of observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • CT
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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