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This review evaluates the diagnostic efficacy of different morphological and functional imaging modalities (ultrasound [US], computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance [MR] imaging, scintigraphy, and positron emission tomography [PET]) in detecting neuroendocrine liver metastases (NELM), assessing vascular and biliary involvement, and the presence of extrahepatic disease. MR imaging is superior for depicting NELM compared to US, CT, and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is more sensitive for detecting NELM than both T2-weighted and dynamic gadolinium-enhanced MR sequences, and should be systematically performed. Similarly, gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR imaging is more sensitive for detecting liver metastases than conventional extracellular gadolinium chelate-enhanced MR sequences. Its role in detecting NELM remains investigational but appears promising. Somatostatin receptor-targeted PET/CT is a highly effective approach in assessing the resectability of well-differentiated NELM due to very high specificity (and high sensitivity) and its ability to detect small volume extrahepatic disease; this molecular imaging modality is becoming increasingly available in and outside Europe after the recent approval of 6868-DOTATATE in the US. In addition, the information from multiphase, contrast-enhanced CT with 3D reconstruction-obtained concurrently with the information on somatostatin receptor expression of the metastases-is very helpful in planning the extent and type of resection of NELM.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





74 - 88