Imaging-based surrogate markers of transcriptome subclasses and signatures in hepatocellular carcinoma: preliminary results

Bachir Taouli, Yujin Hoshida, Suguru Kakite, Xintong Chen, Poh Seng Tan, Xiaochen Sun, Shingo Kihira, Kensuke Kojima, Sara Toffanin, M. Isabel Fiel, Hadassa Hirschfield, Mathilde Wagner, Josep M. Llovet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: In this preliminary study, we examined whether imaging-based phenotypes are associated with reported predictive gene signatures in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Thirty-eight patients (M/F 30/8, mean age 61 years) who underwent pre-operative CT or MR imaging before surgery as well as transcriptome profiling were included in this IRB-approved single-centre retrospective study. Eleven qualitative and four quantitative imaging traits (size, enhancement ratios, wash-out ratio, tumour-to-liver contrast ratios) were assessed by three observers and were correlated with 13 previously reported HCC gene signatures using logistic regression analysis. Results: Thirty-nine HCC tumours (mean size 5.7 ± 3.2 cm) were assessed. Significant positive associations were observed between certain imaging traits and gene signatures of aggressive HCC phenotype (G3-Boyault, Proliferation-Chiang profiles, CK19-Villanueva, S1/S2-Hoshida) with odds ratios ranging from 4.44–12.73 (P <0.045). Infiltrative pattern at imaging was significantly associated with signatures of microvascular invasion and aggressive phenotype. Significant but weak associations were also observed between each enhancement ratio and tumour-to-liver contrast ratios and certain gene expression profiles. Conclusions: This preliminary study demonstrates a correlation between phenotypic imaging traits with gene signatures of aggressive HCC, which warrants further prospective validation to establish imaging-based surrogate markers of molecular phenotypes in HCC. Key points: • There are associations between imaging and gene signatures of aggressive hepatocellular carcinoma. • Infiltrative type is associated with gene signatures of microvascular invasion and aggressiveness. • Infiltrative type may be a surrogate marker of microvascular invasion gene signature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4472-4481
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Computed tomography
  • Genomics
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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