Background: Contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is an imaging technique which appeared on the market around the year 2000 and proposed for the detection of liver metastases in gastrointestinal cancer patients, a setting in which accurate staging plays a significant role in the choice of treatment. Methods: A total of 109 patients with colorectal (n = 92)or gastric cancer prospectively underwent computed tomography (CT) scan and conventional US evaluation followed by real time CEUS. A diagnosis of metastases was made by CT or, for lesions not visibile at CT, the diagnosis was achieved by histopathology or by a malignant behavior during follow-up. Results: Of 109 patients, 65 were found to have metastases at presentation. CEUS improved sensitivity in metastatic livers from 76.9% of patients (US) to 95.4% (p <0.01), while CT scan reached 90.8% (p = n.s. vs CEUS, p <0.01 vs US). CEUS and CT were more sensitive than US also for detection of single lesions (87 with US, 122 with CEUS, 113 with CT). In 15 patients (13.8%), CEUS revealed more metastases than CT, while CT revealed more metastases than CEUS in 9 patients (8.2%) (p = n.s.). Conclusion: CEUS is more sensitive than conventional US in the detection of liver metastases and could be usefully employed in the staging of patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Findings at CEUS and CT appear to be complementary in achieving maximum sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research