Article Abstract

Effect of contrast-enhanced ultrasound on differential diagnosis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and arterial phase enhanced hepatic inflammatory lesions

Authors: Shanshan Yin, Qiuli Cui, Kun Yan, Wei Yang, Wei Wu, Liping Bao, Minhua Chen


Objective: To investigate differential diagnosis between intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) and arterial phase enhanced hepatic inflammatory lesions in patients without liver cirrhosis using contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS).
Methods: ICC and hepatic inflammatory lesions cases with CEUS and pathological diagnosis between Sep 2013 and Oct 2016 were investigated retrospectively. Imaging features of conventional ultrasound and CEUS were analyzed. The parameters of time intensity curve (TIC), including the arrival time, peak intensity (PI) in the lesions, the starting time for washout, and the intensity difference at 3 min (ΔI3) after contrast agent infection between the lesion and the liver parenchyma, were compared between ICC and hepatic inflammatory lesions.
Results: Twenty-five ICC and fifteen inflammatory patients were included in this study. Seventeen ICC (68.0%) and two inflammatory cases (13.3%) showed bile duct dilatation on conventional ultrasound. Using CEUS, three ICC cases (12.0%) were misdiagnosed as inflammatory lesions and three inflammatory lesions (20.0%) as ICC; two ICC (8.0%) and one inflammatory case (6.7%) could not be made definite diagnosis. Washout started at 34.5±3.5 s and 61.5±12.9 s for ICC and inflammatory lesions respectively (P<0.001). The intensity difference between lesion and liver parenchyma at 3 min after contrast agent injection was 10.8±3.1 dB in ICC and 4.2±2.3 dB in inflammatory group (P<0.001). The sensitivity and specificity differentiating ICC and inflammatory lesions were 76% and 87% if the cut-off value of the intensity difference was 7.7 dB.
Conclusions: Combined with TIC analysis, and particularly with the characteristic of the early-starting and obvious washout in ICC, CEUS can be useful in differential diagnosis between hepatic inflammatory lesions and ICC.

Keywords: Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma; inflammatory lesions; ultrasound; contrast enhanced ultrasound