Researchers have discovered that the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) together in patients with cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) carries a high diagnostic value, according to a study published in the Journal of Oncology. The combination of imaging methods yields high sensitivity and specificity for CCA and can thus be highly valuable for physicians in making treatment decisions.

This retrospective study aimed “to explore the auxiliary diagnosis in CCA patients and imaging characteristics of MRI combined with CT,” the authors wrote. 

Read more about cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis

Continue Reading

CT and MRI are known to play different roles in imaging; CT is better for displaying microcalcification of lesions, while MRI is more useful for displaying intramural hemorrhage. It has been proposed that the combination of imaging methods can better help physicians evaluate the severity of the disease and thus impact management decisions.

Between February 2017 and December 2020, researchers recruited 109 patients suspected to have CCA from the First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University in China. The range of ages was between 31 and 79 years, with an average age of 59.39 ± 5.65. The CCA tumors had a range of diameter between 23 mm and 135 mm, with an average diameter of 64.29 ± 6.61 mm.

The study found that 93 cases were diagnosed using CT, with a diagnosis coincidence rate of 89.42% (P >.05), while 96 cases were diagnosed using MRI, which had a diagnosis coincidence rate of 92.31% (P >.05). A total of 104 cases were diagnosed with the combination of both CT and MRI scans, with an impressive diagnosis coincidence rate of 100% (P >.05). This confirms the view proposed by previous studies that the combined use of these imaging techniques can aid physicians in the early diagnosis of CCA, with potential positive implications on the patient survival rate.

CCA carries a poor prognosis and is only curable in a small percentage of patients who are diagnosed early. The problem lies in its late presentation. Common symptoms of CCA include upper abdominal discomfort and hepatomegaly, but they are only noticeable during advanced stages of the disease. 


Li J, Yu Y, He Q. The auxiliary diagnosis and imaging characteristics of MRI combined with CT in patients with cholangiocarcinoma. J Oncol. Published online July 16, 2021. doi:10.1155/2021/2790958