Published online Mar 7, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i9.960
Peer-review started: November 28, 2019
First decision: December 23, 2019
Revised: January 12, 2020
Accepted: January 19, 2020
Article in press: January 19, 2020
Published online: March 7, 2020
In clinical practice, the diagnosis is sometimes difficult with contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) when the case has an atypical perfusion pattern. Color parametric imaging (CPI) is an analysis software for CEUS with better detection of temporal differences in CEUS imaging using arbitrary colors. It measures the differences in arrival time of the contrast agent in lesions so that the perfusion features of atypical hemangioma and colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastasis can be distinguished.
To evaluate the role of a novel type of CPI of CEUS in the differential diagnosis of atypical hemangioma from liver metastases in patients with a history of CRC.
From January 2016 to July 2018, 42 patients including 20 cases of atypical hemangioma and 22 cases of liver metastases from CRC were enrolled. These patients had a mean age of 60.5 ± 9.3 years (range: 39-75 years). All patients received ultrasound, CEUS and CPI examinations. Resident and staff radiologists independently and retrospectively reviewed CEUS and CPI images. Two sets of criteria were assigned: (1) Routine CEUS alone; and (2) CEUS and CPI. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of resident and staff radiologists were analyzed.
The following CPI features were significantly different between liver hemangioma and liver metastases analyzed by staff and resident radiologists: Peripheral nodular enhancement (65%-70.0% vs 4.5%-13.6%, P < 0.001, P = 0.001), mosaic/chaotic enhancement (5%-10% vs 68.2%-63.6%, P < 0.001, P < 0.001) and feeding artery (20% vs 59.1%-54.5%, P = 0.010, P = 0.021). CPI imaging offered significant improvements in detection rates compared with routine CEUS in both resident and staff groups. By resident radiologists, the specificity and accuracy of CEUS+CPI were significantly increased compared with that of CEUS (77.3% vs 45.5%, P = 0.030; 78.6% vs 50.0%, P = 0.006). In addition, the area under the curve (AUC) of CEUS+CPI was significantly higher than that of CEUS (0.803 vs 0.757, P = 0.036). By staff radiologists, accuracy was improved in CEUS+CPI (81.0% vs 54.8%, P = 0.010), whereas no significant differences in specificity and sensitivity were found (P = 0.144, P = 0.112). The AUC of CEUS+CPI was significantly higher than that of CEUS (0.890 vs 0.825, P = 0.013) by staff radiologists.
Compared with routine CEUS, CPI could provide specific information on the hemodynamic features of liver lesions and help to differentiate atypical hemangioma from liver metastases in patients with CRC, even for senior radiologists.
Core tip: Features of atypical hemangioma and liver metastases on routine contrast-enhanced ultrasound are complicated. Color parametric imaging is a new approach that provides specific information on hemodynamic features. The following color parametric imaging features were significantly different between atypical liver hemangioma and liver metastases analyzed by staff and resident radiologists: Peripheral nodular enhancement, mosaic/chaotic enhancement and feeding artery. These findings could help radiologists and even senior radiologists with better identification of the diseases.