Dynamic Evolutionary Changes in Blood Flow Measured by MDCT in a Hepatic VX2 Tumor Implant over an Extended 28-day Growth Period: Time-Density Curve Analysis

Hanping Wu, Agata A. Exner, Hong Shi, Joshua Bear, John R. Haaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: The enhancement pattern of malignant tumors has been studied in short-term animal models (7-14 days), but the reported results have been variable and inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changing blood flow characteristics of VX2 tumors implanted in rabbit livers with contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) to establish a predictable pattern of vascular evolution over an extended 28-day growth period. Materials and Methods: VX2 carcinoma was implanted in livers of 10 male New Zealand White rabbits. Dynamic CT (2/seconds × 60 seconds) was conducted on days 7, 14, 21, and 28 after tumor implantation. Enhancement parameters of time-density curve (TDC), time to start (T0), time to peak (TP), maximum enhancement (ΔH), slope of enhancement (SLe), and washout (SLw) in tumor center, tumor rim, and normal liver were analyzed. Tumor samples corresponding to CT images of one tumor on days 14 and 21 and seven tumors on day 28 were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and anti-CD31 monoclonal antibody. The relationship between enhancement parameters and histology parameters (thickness of tumor border, extent of blood stasis, and luminar vessel density) was analyzed. Results: Consistent growth, appearance, and vascular changes occurred in 7 of 10 animals over the 4-week observation period. Peripheral rim-like enhancement was noted in CT images. TDC analysis showed that tumor rim enhancement was pronounced and more rapid than normal liver initially but this difference diminished with tumor progression. The SLe, SLw, and ΔH decreased from 10.03 ± 3.25 Hu/second, 0.42 ± 0.25 Hu/sec, and 58.00 ± 25.27 Hu on day 7 to 5.86 ± 2.73 Hu/second, 0.10 ± 0.13 Hu/second, and 37.78 ± 8.89 Hu/second on day 28, respectively. TP increased from 12.71 ± 4.85 seconds on day 7 to 25.57 ± 7.75 seconds on day 28. No significant changes were noted on the TDC parameters in normal liver. The maximum density difference between tumor rim and normal liver (Drim-liver) appeared 10.5 ± 2.1 seconds after contrast injection. The maximum Drim-liver decreased from 54.33 ± 37.86 Hu on day 7 to 11.16 ± 13.03 Hu on day 28. On histological analysis, viable tumor cells were found in tumor rim with few luminar vessels. The tumor border showed desmoplastic reaction, vascular dilation and proliferation, inflammatory cell infiltration, and blood stasis. These findings were more obvious on day 28 than those on day 14. TP showed significant positive correlations with the extent of blood stasis in tumor border and adjacent liver and the maximum thickness of the tumor border (r = 0.945 and 0.893 respectively, P < .05). Conclusion: The rabbit VX2 liver tumor is a hypovascular tumor with perilesional enhancement over its lifespan as imaged by MDCT. Consistent changes in the measured vascular parameters correlated with the size/age of the tumor implants. These findings suggest that the accuracy of CT enhancement imaging for VX2 liver tumor detection might be decreased with tumor development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1483-1492
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Multidetector computed tomography
  • animal model
  • liver tumor
  • time-density curve analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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