Recall strategies for patients found to have a nodule in cirrhosis: is there still a role for CEUS?

Vito Cantisani, Emanuele David, Franca Maria Meloni, Christoph Frank Dietrich, Radu Badea, Daniela Messineo, Ferdinando D’Ambrosio, Fabio Piscaglia


Development of liver tumors and their evolution to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a multi-step process in which different HCC-etiologies induce continuous rounds of hepatocyte damage and regeneration. Over an extended time, this triggers cirrhosis which is a pathological state of the liver in which lesions can progress to become dysplastic nodules. Later, these nodules may evolve into HCC and occasionally generate metastatic events. To provide optimal care, patients with liver cancer should be managed using a multidisciplinary approach in specialized centers in which all the diagnostic and therapeutic resources are available. Among the different imaging modalities the introduction on contrast agents for ultrasound use has opened new further applications in different clinical settings. In fact, contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) has been applied for more than ten years and plays increasingly important roles in the management of HCC. Since early 2000, international societies including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the Asian Pacific association for the Study of the Liver (APASL), the Japanese society of Hepatology (JSH), the Italian society for the study of the liver (AISF), the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB), and the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFUSMB) have discussed the important role of CEUS in the diagnosis of HCC. In the present review an update of the literature and a detailed discussion of the present Guidelines  regarding the role of CEUS in the evaluation of nodules in cirrhotic patients  is offered.


hepatocellular carcinoma; contrast-enhanced ultrasound; CT; MRI; cirrhosis guidelines

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