CT of the liver in patients with metastatic breast carcinoma treated by chemotherapy: findings simulating cirrhosis

AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology
S T YoungM E Baker


Although the hepatotoxic effects of systemic chemotherapy are well known, CT findings in the liver after systemic chemotherapy have received little attention in the literature. In some patients with breast carcinoma metastatic to the liver who have received chemotherapy, a morphologic pattern develops similar to that associated with cirrhosis. This pattern is characterized by a lobular hepatic contour, segmental volume loss, and enlargement of the caudate lobe. The purpose of this study was to describe the CT appearance of this pseudocirrhosis and to correlate it with pathologic findings. We reviewed 65 CT examinations of 22 patients with stage IV breast carcinoma with hepatic metastases, who were receiving systemic chemotherapy and for whom abdominal CT scans showed pseudocirrhosis. Nineteen of 22 patients had follow-up CT scans at intervals ranging from 1 to 15 months. Criteria for the diagnosis of pseudocirrhosis included a lobular hepatic contour, segmental volume loss, and enlargement of the caudate lobe. CT findings were correlated with pathologic findings in seven patients. In all patients, CT scans showed retraction of the capsular surface of the liver (15 diffuse, seven focal) with a lobular margin, a finding also seen...Continue Reading


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