The role of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in planning treatment protocols for hepatocellular carcinoma before radiofrequency ablation

M. H. Chen, W. Yang, K. Yan, Y. Dai, W. Wu, Z. H. Fan, M. R. Callstrom, J. W. Charboneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Aim: To evaluate the clinical value of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in identifying the tumour number, ablation range and feeding vessels before ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and to compare the efficacy of RFA after CEUS with the efficacy of RFA after non-enhanced ultrasonography (US) without contrast medium administration. Materials and methods: From 2002 to 2005, 81 patients with 110 HCCs underwent CEUS with SonoVue before RFA treatment (group A). Eighty six patients with 112 HCCs who underwent US without contrast enhancement before RFA served as the control group (group B). The average diameters of the lesions in group A and group B were 3.6 ± 1.1 cm and 3.5 ± 1.1 cm, respectively. There were no significant differences in clinical data between the two groups. Regular follow-up after treatment was performed using contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT). After treatment, complete necrosis was defined as the absence of viable tissue in treated tumours at the 1-year follow-up CECT. Results: Using CEUS an additional seven small lesions (≤2.0 cm) were found compared with those found using CECT and conventional US. CEUS showed that 56.4% of lesions (62/110 tumours) were larger in size and 49.1% (54/110 tumours) became more irregular in shape during the arterial phase than on conventional US. Feeding vessels were detected using CEUS in 52 (91.2%) of 57 lesions that were larger than 3.5 cm. The follow-up period was at least 1 year for each case. The complete tumour necrosis rate in group A was significantly higher than that in group B (92.2% versus 83.0%; p = 0.036). Conclusion: CEUS can be used to more accurately define the size and contour of lesions, and to detect additional small or satellite lesions and the feeding vessel of HCC tumours. CEUS provided important information for designing the ablation protocol, and might improve the efficacy of RFA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-760
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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