BACKGROUND: Liver metastases limit survival in colorectal cancer. Earlier detection of (occult) metastatic disease may benefit treatment and survival. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article is to evaluate the potential of whole-liver CT texture analysis of apparently disease-free liver parenchyma for discriminating between colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with and without hepatic metastases. METHODS: The primary staging CT examinations of 29 CRC patients were retrospectively analysed. Patients were divided into three groups: patients without liver metastases (n = 15), with synchronous liver metastases (n = 10) and metachronous liver metastases within 18 months following primary staging (n = 4). Whole-liver texture analysis was performed by delineation of the apparently non-diseased liver parenchyma (excluding metastases or other focal liver lesions) on portal phase images. Mean grey-level intensity (M), entropy (E) and uniformity (U) were derived with no filtration and different filter widths (0.5 = fine, 1.5 = medium, 2.5 = coarse). RESULTS: Mean E1.5 and E2.5 for the whole liver in patients with synchronous metastases were significantly higher compared with the non-metastatic patients (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01). Mean U1.5 and U2.5 were significantly lower in the synchronous metastases group compared with the non-metastatic group (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02). Texture parameters for the metachronous metastases group were not significantly different from the non-metastatic group or synchronous metastases group (p > 0.05), although - similar to the synchronous metastases group - there was a subtle trend towards increased E1.5, E2.5 and decreased U1.5, U2.5 values. Areas under the ROC curve for the diagnosis of synchronous metastatic disease based on the texture parameters E1.5,2.5 and U1.5,2.5 ranged between 0.73 and 0.78. CONCLUSION: Texture analysis of the apparently non-diseased liver holds promise to differentiate between CRC patients with and without metastatic liver disease. Further research is required to determine whether these findings may be used to benefit the prediction of metachronous liver disease.