Diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in differentiating benign and malignant focal liver lesions: a retrospective study.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of our early experience with contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the characterisation of focal liver lesions (FLLs) using histopathology, contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other imaging follow-up as the standard of reference.
Seventy-three patients with 82 FLLs who underwent liver CEUS from January 2006 to December 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. CEUS was performed with up to 4.8 mL of SonoVue® (Bracco, Milan, Italy) using a low mechanical index mode. The CEUS findings were compared with histopathology, or where histopathology was not available, clinical and imaging follow-up over at least 12 months was used as the standard of reference.
Of the 82 FLLs, 50 were malignant and 32 were benign at final diagnosis. CEUS correctly identified 43 malignant FLLs, with final diagnosis confirmed by histopathology in 13 lesions and clinico-radiological follow-up in 30 lesions. Twenty-nine lesions were correctly identified as benign on CEUS, with all these lesions confirmed on clinico-radiological follow-up. CEUS demonstrated a sensitivity of 86.0% and a specificity of 90.6% in the characterisation of liver lesions as malignant, with an overall accuracy of 87.8% (P < 0.05).
Our early experience has shown that CEUS can be accurate in differentiating malignant from benign FLLs and may become a useful first-line imaging tool where CT or MRI are not available or contra-indicated.