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The histopathological growth patterns (HGPs) of liver metastases of colorectal cancer and of several other tumor types predict outcome of patients in multiple studies. The HGPs of liver metastases have a prognostic but also a predictive value with one of the growth patterns, the replacement growth pattern, related to resistance to systemic treatment. Given that the HGP can only be assessed in a reliable manner when a surgical resection of the metastasis has been performed, this biomarker cannot be exploited to the full. For example, HGPs can at this moment, not be used to decide whether patients with liver metastatic breast or colorectal cancer will benefit or not from locoregional treatment, such as surgery or radiotherapy, and from peri-operative systemic treatment. In this review we highlight studies that suggest that the HGPs of liver metastases can be identified by medical imaging. Although still to be confirmed by a prospective multicenter approach, some studies indeed achieve a high accuracy in predicting the HGPs by applying radiomic algorithms on CT- or MR-images of liver metastases. This is an important step towards a treatment planning of patients with liver metastatic cancer that takes into account the biology and the progression kinetics of the metastases. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Emily Latacz, Pieter-Jan van Dam, Christian Vanhove, Laura Llado, Benedicte Descamps, Núria Ruiz, Ines Joye, Dirk Grünhagen, Steven Van Laere, Piet Dirix, David G Mollevi, Cornelis Verhoef, Luc Dirix, Peter Vermeulen. Can medical imaging identify the histopathological growth patterns of liver metastases? Seminars in cancer biology. 2021 Jun;71:33-41

PMID: 32735852

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