Morphometric Evaluation of Canine Hepatocellular Carcinoma using Computed Tomography: A Promising Tool for Predicting Malignancy

Rommaneeya Leela-Arporn, Hiroshi Ohta, Genya Shimbo, Noboru Sasaki, Mitsuyoshi Takiguchi*

Abstract
The size of canine focal liver lesions (FLLs) is known to be one of the predicting criteria for malignancy. However, there are discrepancies for the measurement of maximum lesion size, resulting in contradicting results among studies and incidences of false positive outcomes. Thus far, the morphometric changes of FLLs for distinguishing malignancy from benignancy remains undocumented. This study aimed to investigate morphometric characteristics of FLLs using computed tomography (CT). CT images of 40 dogs with histopathological confirmation of 49 liver lesions, including 39 hepatocellular carcinomas and 10 nodular hyperplasias were retrospectively reviewed. The morphometric parameters including size (long and short axis diameters measured on transverse image), shape (measured by long to short axis (L/S) ratio), volume, and surface appearance of a liver lesion were evaluated using univariate and stepwise multivariate analyses, respectively. The results of univariate analysis showed that long and short axis diameters, L/S ratio, volume, and surface appearance of a lesion were significantly different between hepatocellular carcinomas and nodular hyperplasias. Multivariate analysis revealed that short axis diameter (>3.30 cm; odds ratio (OR): 36.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.36-387.05, P=0.0031) and L/S ratio (>1.23; OR: 18.1, 95% CI: 1.61-205.12, P=0.0191) were independent predictors of malignancy, with the area under the curve of 0.9154. These results suggest that the combination of short axis diameter and L/S ratio is a promising tool for predicting liver malignancy with outstanding discriminating ability.

Keywords: differentiation, dog, hepatic tumor, morphometry.