Hepatocellular carcinoma with macroscopic fat metamorphosis: A case series

Sahat Basana Romanti Ezer Matondang, Komang Shary Karismaputri, Edwin Suharlim, I. Wayan Murna Yonathan

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world, with hepatitis B and C as its main causes. HCC can have fat metamorphosis which leads to a better prognosis, though this is more commonly found in lesions smaller than 3 cm in diameter, and usually contains intravoxel fat. In this case series, we present three cases of HCC with macroscopic fat metamorphosis as examined using CT scan and MRI. Macroscopic fat is seen using CT as a hypodense mass with attenuation of-10 to-100 HU, or MRI using fat-saturation technique. Intravoxel fat can be seen on MRI using fat saturation chemical shift technique, appearing as signal loss during opposed phase and increased signal during in-phase. The differential diagnoses of HCC with fat metamorphosis are angiomyolipoma, hepatic adenoma, nodular steatosis, focal nodular hyperplasia, dysplastic nodule, liposarcoma, and hepatic metastasis. Enhancement patterns of the fat and non-fat component; intra-tumoral fat distribution; the presence of cirrhosis; the presence of atoll sign; and history of viral hepatitis are useful clues for differentiation of HCC with other differential diagnoses..

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Imaging Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Fat metamorphosis
  • Focal liver lesion
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Mri


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