Abdominal Imaging

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 501–511 | Cite as

Hepatocellular cancer response to radiofrequency tumor ablation: contrast-enhanced ultrasound

  • Tommaso Vincenzo BartolottaEmail author
  • Adele Taibbi
  • Massimo Midiri
  • Marcello De Maria


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is increasingly being used as percutaneous treatment of choice for patients with early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). An accurate assessment of the RFA therapeutic response is of crucial importance, considering that a complete tumor ablation significantly increases patient survival, whereas residual unablated tumor calls for additional treatment. Imaging modalities play a pivotal role in accomplishing this task, but ultrasound (US) is not considered a reliable modality for the evaluation of the real extent of necrosis, even when color/power Doppler techniques are used. Recently, newer microbubble-based US contrast agents used in combination with grey-scale US techniques, which are very sensitive to non-linear behavior of microbubbles, have been introduced. These features have opened new prospects in liver ultrasound and may have a great impact on daily practice, including cost-effective assessment of therapeutic response of percutaneous ablative therapies. Technical evolution of CEUS focusing on findings after RFA are illustrated. These latter are detailed, cross-referenced with the literature and discussed on the basis of our personal experience. Timing of CEUS posttreatment assessment among with advantages and limitations of CEUS are also described with a perspective on further technologic refinement.

Key words

Radiofrequency ablation Contrast-enhanced ultrasound Hepatocellular carcinoma Liver, percutaneous ablation therapy Liver, sonography 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tommaso Vincenzo Bartolotta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adele Taibbi
    • 1
  • Massimo Midiri
    • 1
  • Marcello De Maria
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly

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