Histopathology is the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing renal cell carcinoma but is limited by sample size. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound can differentiate malignant and benign lesions, but the Chinese guidelines on the management of renal cell carcinoma do not include this method. The purpose of this study was to compare the diagnostic parameters of contrast-enhanced ultrasound against those of contrast-enhanced computed tomography for detecting kidney lesions, with histopathology considered the reference standard.
Patients with suspected kidney lesions from prior grayscale ultrasonography and computed tomography were included in the analysis (n=191). The contrast-enhanced ultrasound, contrast-enhanced computed tomography, and histopathology data were collected and analyzed. A solid, enhanced mass was considered a malignant lesion, and an unenhanced mass or cyst was considered a benign lesion. The Bosniak criteria were used to characterize the lesions.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound and contrast-enhanced computed tomography both detected that 151 patients had malignant tumors and 40 patients had benign tumors. No significant differences in the tumors and their subtypes were reported between contrast-enhanced ultrasound and histopathology (p=0.804). Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma was detected through contrast-enhanced computed tomography (n=1), but no such finding was reported by contrast-enhanced ultrasound. A total of 35 cases of papillary renal cell carcinoma were reported through contrast-enhanced ultrasound while 32 were reported through histopathology.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound might be safe and as accurate as histopathology in diagnosing kidney lesions, especially renal cell carcinoma. Additionally, this study provides additional information over histopathology and has an excellent safety profile.