[Imaging in the diagnosis of colorectal liver metastases and extrahepatic abnormalities]

S. Bipat, M. van Leeuwen, W. Oyen, A. Planting, J. IJzermans and J. Stoker

Academisch Medisch Centrum/Universiteit van Amsterdam, afd. Radiologie, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam. s.bipat@amc.uva.nl
Apr, 2008


Imaging using ultrasonography, spiral CT, MRI and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), plays a major role at two situations during the management of patients with colorectal liver metastases: (a) at the time of the diagnosis and treatment of the primary colorectal tumour, and (b) during the follow-up for the detection of liver metastases and assessing the resectability of these metastases. At the time of the diagnosis and the treatment of the primary tumour, imaging comprising spiral CT or MRI to detect and characterize liver lesions is considered to be the modality of choice. Due to their low prevalence, imaging for the evaluation of lung metastases may be limited to conventional chest radiography. For evaluation of the extrahepatic abnormalities, abdominal and chest CT may be performed in combination with CT of the liver; alternatively a FDG-PET may be performed. During the follow-up of patients treated for colorectal carcinoma, ultrasonography is the most important imaging modality. However, if the liver cannot be adequately imaged by ultrasonography, if there is a raised level ofcarcinoembryonic antigen or irresectability cannot be determined, additional CT or MRI examination will result in more information.