Ultrasound in medicine & biology 2017 08 1243(11) 2567-2575 pii 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2017.07.010
The objective of this study was to prospectively evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) in differentiating between benign and metastatic cervical lymph nodes in patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Three hundred nineteen cervical lymph nodes (162 metastatic from PTC and 157 benign) were evaluated using conventional ultrasonography (US) and CEUS before biopsy or surgery. Metastatic lymph nodes more often manifested centripetal or asynchronous perfusion, hyper-enhancement, heterogeneous enhancement, perfusion defects and ring-enhancing margins than benign lymph nodes at pre-operative CEUS (all p values < 0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for the combination of conventional US and CEUS (0.983, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.971-0.994) was higher than that of conventional US alone (0.929, 95% CI: 0.899-0.958) and CEUS (0.911, 95% CI: 0.876-0.947). In conclusion, CEUS is a promising tool in conjunction with conventional US for the pre-operative prediction of metastatic cervical lymph nodes in patients with PTC.