Biphenotypic hepatic tumors: imaging findings and review of literature

Michael L. Wells, Sudhakar K. Venkatesh, Vishal S. Chandan, Jeff L. Fidler, Joel G. Fletcher, Geoffrey B. Johnson, David M. Hough, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe imaging findings in biphenotypic hepatic tumors (BPT) and a proposal for new imaging classification based on contrast-enhanced imaging. Methods: Retrospective review of CT, MRI, PET/CT, and ultrasound findings in 39 patients with histologically confirmed BPT was performed. Tumor markers including AFP, L3 fraction, CA 19.9, CA 125, and CEA were recorded. Based on the dynamic enhancement features, BPT were categorized into 4 enhancement patterns (Types 1–4). Enhancement patterns were correlated with other imaging findings and tumor markers. Imaging features and tumor markers that were not consistent with diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma based on enhancement pattern were considered discordant findings. Results: Enhancement patterns in 29 patients (CT/MR) included 23 Type 2 (continuous peripheral rim of late arterial hyperenhancement with washout or fade in portal venous and/or delayed phases, ±delayed central enhancement) and 2 of each Types 1, 2, and 3. Discordant imaging findings were present in two patients with Type 2 pattern and in one patient with Type 1 pattern. Both AFP and CA 19.9 were elevated in 15 of 33 of patients. Tumor markers AFP and CA 19.9 were discordant in 17 of 21 patients with Type 2 pattern, two of two patients with Type 3 pattern. Most BPTs were markedly PET avid with average SUV max of 8.2. Most frequent ultrasound appearance is peripheral hypoechogenicity and central hyperechogenicity. Conclusions: BPT most commonly present with imaging features similar to cholangiocarcinoma or metastases. BPT can be suggested when imaging findings or tumor markers are discordant with the most likely diagnosis based on enhancement pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2293-2305
Number of pages13
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 29 2015


  • Biphenotypic hepatic tumor
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Ultrasound (US)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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