Effect of cirrhosis on accuracy of 99Tcm-tin colloid scintigraphy and ultrasound scanning in diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma

P Powell-Jackson, A Forbes, M Michell, R Williams

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The effect of cirrhosis on the accuracy of ultrasonography and scintigraphy in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been established. We have therefore studied the findings on ultrasound and scintigraphy in four groups of patients. Fourteen had HCC and cirrhosis, 13 had HCC but no cirrhosis, 53 had cirrhosis but no HCC and 31 had evidence neither of cirrhotic nor malignant liver disease. The accuracies of a positive interpretation of HCC on ultrasound and scintigraphy in the absence of cirrhosis were 85% and 66% respectively (NS), but fell (significantly in the case of scintigraphy: p less than 0.05) to 80% and 31% respectively in the presence of cirrhosis (p less than 0.01). The poorer performance of scintigraphy in the presence of cirrhosis was a result both of its lower sensitivity (50% compared with 85%) and the greater frequency of false positives (28% vs 5%: p less than 0.001). The accuracy of a negative interpretation of HCC on scintigraphy in the absence of cirrhosis was 96% but fell to 84% in the presence of cirrhosis, whereas on ultrasound it remained the same (96%). In conclusion, we recommend ultrasound in preference to scintigraphy as a more accurate technique for the diagnosis of HCC in the presence of cirrhosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1222
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number720
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1987


  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Technetium
  • Technetium Compounds
  • Tin
  • Tin Compounds
  • Ultrasonography

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