Aim To verify if detailed analysis of temporal enhancement patterns on contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) may help differentiate intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhosis. Methods Thirty three ICC and fifty HCC in cirrhosis were enrolled in this study. The contrast kinetics of ICC and HCC was analyzed and compared. Results Statistical analysis did not reveal significant difference between ICC and HCC in the time of contrast first appearance and arterial peak maximum time. ICC displayed much earlier washout than that of HCC (47.93±26.45 seconds vs 90.86±31.26 seconds) in the portal phase, and most ICC (87.9%) showed washout before 60 seconds than HCC (16.0%). Much more ICC (78.8%) revealed marked washout than HCC (12.0%) while most HCC (88.0%) showed mild washout or no washout in late part of the portal phase (90–120 seconds). Twenty six out of thirty three ICC (78.8%) demonstrated both early washout(<60seconds) and marked washout in late part of the portal phase, whereas, only six of fifty HCC (12.0%)showed these temporal enhancement features (p = 0.000).When both early washout and marked washout in the portal phase are taken as diagnostic criterion for ICC, the diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and accuracy were 78.8%,88.0%,81.3%,86.3%,and 84.3% respectively by CEUS. Conclusions Analysis of detailed temporal enhancement features on CEUS is helpful differentiate ICC from HCC in cirrhosis.If a nodule in cirrhotic liver displays hyper-enhancement in the arterial phase followed by early and marked washout in the portal phase, the nodule is highly suspicious of ICC rather than HCC.
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