Published online Mar 21, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i11.1699
Revised: October 20, 2005
Accepted: November 10, 2005
Published online: March 21, 2006
AIM: To evaluate contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) using SonoVue® in the detection of liver metastases in patients with known extrahepatic primary tumors versus the combined gold standard comprising CT, MRI and clinical/histological data.
METHODS: It is an international multicenter study, and there were 12 centres and 125 patients (64 males, 61 females, aged 59 ± 11 years) involved, with 102 patients per protocol. Primary tumors were colorectal in 35 %, breast in 27 %, pancreatic in 17 % and others in 21 %. CEUS using SonoVue® was employed with a low-mechanical-index technique and contrast-specific software using Siemens Elegra, Philips HDI 5000 and Acuson Sequoia; continuous scanning for at least five minutes.
RESULTS: CEUS with SonoVue® increased significantly the number of focal liver lesions detected versus unenhanced sonography. In 31.4 % of the patients, more lesions were found after contrast enhancement. The total numbers of lesions detected were comparable with CEUS (55), triple-phase spiral CT (61) and MRI with a liver-specific contrast agent (53). Accuracy of detection of metastatic disease (i.e. at least one metastatic lesion) was significantly higher for CEUS (91.2 %) than for unenhanced sonography (81.4 %) and was similar to that of triple-phase spiral CT (89.2 %). In 53 patients whose CEUS examination was negative, a follow-up examination 3-6 mo later confirmed the absence of metastatic lesions in 50 patients (94.4 %).
CONCLUSION: CEUS is proved to be reliable in the detection of liver metastases in patients with known extrahepatic primary tumors and suspected liver lesions.