Quantitative ultrasonic analysis of liver metastases

H. Huisman, J. Thijssen, D. Wagener and G. Rosenbusch

Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology 1998;24(1):67-77.

DOI PMID Cited by ~26

The performance of five features of ultrasonic tissue characterization (UTC) of metastases in vivo in liver was investigated. We acquired serial radiofrequency data sets of 12 patients with metastases in the liver from adenocarcinoma of the colon. Parenchyma and metastases UTC features were estimated in semiautomatically segmented regions. Over 200 metastases were measured in patients and 43 dummy metastases in healthy volunteers. Two attenuation features could be estimated in only 15\% of the metastases, and these were not different from those in parenchyma. The texture features signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) could not discriminate real from dummy metastases. Average backscatter intensity, b0, is an established discriminative echographic image feature. However, the metastases that were hypoechoic relative to surrounding parenchyma appeared to be isoechoic relative to normal liver parenchyma. They were visible because of an increased b0 in the surrounding liver parenchyma. Finally, we found an increased backscatter coefficient slope vs. frequency in hypoechoic metastases that may predict a deterioration of lesion contrast at higher transducer frequencies. We conclude that the backscatter coefficient slope can improve detection of metastases, and that b0 measured relative to normal liver parenchyma should be used to correctly correlate metastasis echography with histology.