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Functional imaging encompasses techniques capable of assessing physiological parameters of tissues, and offers useful clinical information in addition to that obtained from morphological imaging. Such techniques may include magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion-weighted sequences or hepatobiliary contrast agents, perfusion imaging, or molecular imaging with radiolabelled tracers. The liver is of major importance in oncological practice; not only is hepatocellular carcinoma one of the malignancies with steadily rising incidence worldwide, but hepatic metastases are regularly observed with a range of solid neoplasms. Within the realm of hepatic oncology, different functional imaging modalities may occupy pivotal roles in lesion characterisation, treatment selection and follow-up, depending on tumour size and type. In this review, we characterise the major forms of functional imaging, discuss their current application to the management of patients with common primary and secondary liver tumours, and anticipate future developments within this field.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Hepatology

Publication Date





1017 - 1030