Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Tumor-specific vascularization pattern of liver metastasis, hepatocellular carcinoma, hemangioma and focal nodular hyperplasia in the differential diagnosis of 1,349 liver lesions in contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS).

AIM: To evaluate the incidence and diagnostic accuracy of tumor-specific vascularization pattern in contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the differential diagnosis of liver tumors in clinical practice.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From May 2004 to December 2006 1349 patients (male 677, female 672) with a hepatic tumor lacking a definite diagnosis based on B-mode ultrasound and power Doppler ultrasound were examined at 14 hospitals by CEUS using a standardized protocol (pulse/phase inversion imaging, mechanical index < 0.4). Vascularity pattern and contrast enhancement pattern were analyzed in focal lesions during the arterial, portal, and late phase. The tumor-specific diagnosis established after CEUS was compared to histology (> 75 % cases) or in some cases to CT or MRI.

RESULTS: The final diagnosis of 573 benign hepatic tumors included hemangiomas (n = 242) and focal nodular hyperplasia (n = 170), other benign lesions (n = 161). Tumor-specific vascularization pattern such as a wheel-spoke pattern and arterial hyperenhancement followed by isoenhancement in the late phase in FNH or a nodular peripheral enhancement and partial or complete fill-in pattern in hemangiomas could be assessed in the majority, but not all lesions. The diagnostic accuracy of CEUS was 83.1 % for all benign lesions and 82.2 % for hemangioma and 87.1 % for FNH. The final diagnosis of 755 malignant hepatic tumors included metastases n = 383, hepatocellular carcinoma n = 279 and other malignant lesions n = 93. Late phase hypoenhancement was seen in almost all liver metastases (94.7 %) The diagnostic accuracy of CEUS was 95.8 % for all malignant lesions and 91.4 % for liver metastases and 84.9 % for hepatocellular carcinomas.

CONCLUSION: Tumor-specific vascularization pattern in CEUS have a high diagnostic impact on the overall high diagnostic accuracy of CEUS for the differential diagnosis of hepatic tumors in clinical practice.

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