Contrast-enhanced power Doppler endosonography and pathological assessment of vascularization in advanced gastric carcinomas - a feasibility study

Sevastiţa Iordache, Maria-Monalisa Filip, Claudia-Valentina Georgescu, Cristina Angelescu, Tudorel Ciurea, Adrian Saftoiu


Aim. Besides representing angiogenesis markers, microvascular density (MVD) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are two important tools for the assessment of prognosis in patients with gastric cancer. The aim of our study was to assess the Doppler parameters (resistivity and pulsatility indexes) and vascularity index (VI) calculated by contrast-enhanced power Doppler endoscopic ultrasound (CEPD-EUS) in correlation with the expression of intra-tumoral MVD and VEGF in patients with gastric cancer. Material and methods. The study included 20 consecutive patients with advanced gastric carcinoma, but without distant metastasis at initial assessment. All the patients were assessed by contrast-enhanced power Doppler endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) combined with pulsed Doppler examinations in the late venous phase. The vascularity index (VI) was calculated before and after injection of second generation microbubble contrast specific agent (SonoVue 2.4 mL), used as a Doppler signal enhancer. Moreover, pulsed Doppler parameters (resistivity and pulsatility indexes) were further calculated. The correlation between power Doppler parameters and pathological/molecular parameters (MVD assessed through immunohistochemistry with CD31 and CD34, as well as VEGF assessed through real-time PCR) was assessed. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used for the assessment of prognosis. Results. Significantly statistical correlations were found between post-contrast VI and CD34 (p=0.0226), VEGF (p=0.0231), VEGF-A (p=0.0464) and VEGF-B (p=0.0022) while pre-contrast VI was correlated only with CD34 expression. Pulsatility index and resistivity index were not correlated with MVD or VEGF expression. Survival analysis demonstrated that VEGF-A is an accurate parameter for survival rate (p=0.045), as compared to VEGF (p=0.085) and VEGF-B (p=0.230). We did not find any correlation between the survival rate and ultrasound parameters (RI, PI, pre-contrast VI or post-contrast VI). Conclusion. Assessment of tumor vascularity using contrast-enhanced EUS, including analysis of spectral Doppler parameters is possible and feasible in gastric cancer patients. A correlation between measured EUS vascularity and pathological parameters of angiogenesis (MVD and VEGF expression) was found.


gastric cancer; endosonography; vascular endothelial growth factor; microvessel density; Power Doppler

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