, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 743-753
Date: 04 Sep 2009

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma: differential diagnosis with contrast-enhanced ultrasound

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We assessed the usefulness of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the differentiation of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


The CEUS enhancement patterns of 50 ICCs were retrospectively analysed and compared with 50 HCCs. Two readers independently reviewed the baseline ultrasound (BUS) and CEUS images and the diagnostic performances were evaluated by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Time–intensity curves (TIC) were plotted for quantification analysis.


In the arterial phase, peripheral rim-like hyperenhancement, heterogeneous hyperenhancement, homogeneous hyperenhancement and heterogeneous hypoenhancement were found in 25, 10, 3 and 12 of the ICCs versus 2, 29, 19 and 0 of the HCCs (P < 0.001), respectively. The diagnostic performance of both readers in terms of the area under the ROC curve (0.745 vs. 0.933 for reader 1, and 0.803 vs. 0.911 for reader 2), sensitivity (28% vs. 90%, and 44% vs. 82%) and accuracy (64% vs. 90%, and 71% vs. 90%) improved significantly after CEUS (all P < 0.05). The interobserver agreement increased from κ = 0.575 at BUS to κ = 0.720 after CEUS. TICs demonstrated that the intensities of the peripheral and central portions of the ICCs were lower than those of HCCs (both P < 0.05).


CEUS improves the diagnostic performance significantly in the differentiation between ICC and HCC.