Diagnostic performance and confidence of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in the differential diagnosis of cystic and cysticlike liver lesions

Antonio Corvino, Orlando Catalano, Fabio Corvino, Fabio Sandomenico, Antonella Petrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE. The aims of this study were to assess the diagnostic performance of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the characterization of atypical cystic and cysticlike focal liver lesions in comparison with conventional US and to determine whether the use of CEUS can reduce the need for further diagnostic workup. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. In a 3-year period 48 patients with 50 atypical cystic and cysticlike lesions found at conventional US underwent CEUS. Diagnostic confirmation was obtained in cytohistopathologic examinations, with other imaging modalities, and in follow-up. Overall, there were 24 cystic lesions and 26 cysticlike solid lesions, specifically 32 benign and 18 malignant lesions. The conventional US and CEUS images and cine loops were reviewed by two blinded readers independently. Sensitivity, specificity, area under the ROC curve (Az), and interobserver agreement were calculated. RESULTS. Diagnostic performance improved after review of CEUS examinations by both readers (conventional US Az = 0.781 vs 0.972; CEUS Az = 0.734 vs 0.957). Interreader agreement increased, although slightly (conventional US weighted = 0.894; CEUS weighted = 0.953). In terms of differential diagnosis, the occurrence of correctly characterized lesions increased after CEUS for both readers (reader 1, 62% to 98%; reader 2, 56% to 96%). CONCLUSION. The development of low-acoustic-power CEUS has made it possible to identify several imaging features of cystic and cysticlike focal liver lesions that, in association with history and clinical findings, may help to correctly characterize them. Our data indicate the usefulness of CEUS in the evaluation of patients with these lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)W119-W127
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Cystic lesions
  • Cysticlike lesions
  • Focal liver lesions
  • Microbubbles
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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