MR elastography of liver tumours: value of viscoelastic properties for tumour characterisation

Philippe Garteiser, Sabrina Doblas, Jean-Luc Daire, Mathilde Wagner, Helena Leitao, Valérie Vilgrain, Ralph Sinkus, Bernard E Van Beers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To assess the value of the viscoelastic parameters in the characterisation of liver tumours at MR elastography.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninety-four patients with liver tumours >1 cm prospectively underwent MR elastography using 50-Hz mechanical waves and a full three-directional motion-sensitive sequence. The model-free viscoelastic parameters (the complex shear modulus and its real and imaginary parts, i.e. the storage and loss moduli) were calculated in 72 lesions after exclusion of cystic, treated or histopathologically undetermined tumours.

RESULTS: We observed higher absolute shear modulus and loss modulus in malignant versus benign tumours (3.38 ± 0.26 versus 2.41 ± 0.15 kPa, P < 0.01 and 2.25 ± 0.26 versus 1.05 ± 0.13 kPa, P < 0.001, respectively). Moreover, the loss modulus of hepatocellular carcinomas was significantly higher than in benign hepatocellular tumours. The storage modulus did not differ significantly between malignant and benign tumours. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of loss modulus was significantly larger than that of the absolute shear modulus and storage modulus when comparing malignant and benign lesions.

CONCLUSIONS: The increased loss modulus is a better discriminator between benign and malignant tumours than the increased storage modulus or absolute value of the shear modulus.

KEY POINTS: • Magnetic Resonance elastography is a new method of assessing the liver. • Increased loss modulus is an indicator of malignancy in hepatic tumours. • Loss modulus is a better discriminator than absolute shear modulus values. • The viscoelastic properties of lesions offer promise for characterising liver tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2169-2177
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult


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