Frequency of hepatic contour abnormalities and signs of portal hypertension at CT in patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer metastatic to the liver

Published:November 17, 2006DOI:



      This study aimed to determine the frequency of hepatic contour abnormalities and signs of portal hypertension at serial CT in patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer metastatic to the liver.

      Materials and Methods

      We retrospectively identified 91 women with breast cancer metastatic to the liver who received chemotherapy and underwent serial CT at our institution between 1998 and 2002. Two readers independently categorized hepatic contour abnormalities on the final CT examination as none, limited retraction, widespread retraction, or diffuse nodularity. Readers also recorded the development of hepatic atrophy or enlargement, ascites, portosystemic collateral veins, and splenomegaly. Interpretative discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Portal hypertension was defined as the presence of at least two of the following CT signs: simple ascites, portosystemic collateral veins, and splenomegaly.


      After a median follow-up interval of 15 months (range, 1–46), hepatic contour abnormalities were seen in 68 of 91 patients (75%) and consisted of limited retraction (n=42), widespread retraction (n=10), or diffuse nodularity (n=16). Portal hypertension was found in 1 of 23 patients without contour abnormalities, in 1 of 42 patients with limited retraction, in none of 10 patients with widespread retraction, and in 6 of 16 patients with diffuse nodularity (P<.01).


      Hepatic contour abnormalities commonly develop at serial CT in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer metastatic to the liver and may be accompanied by signs of portal hypertension; the latter are particularly, but not exclusively, associated with the development of diffuse hepatic nodularity.


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