Evaluation of upper tract urothelial carcinomas by contrast-enhanced ultrasound

To describe the findings and behaviour of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in the study of upper tract urothelial tumours and to assess its usefulness for diagnosis.

We reviewed our hospital's database over a period of 45 months to identify patients diagnosed with upper tract urothelial carcinomas. We reviewed the findings on mode B-ultrasound, contrast-enhanced ultrasound (location and qualitative assessment of intensity and washout of enhancement), and made a comparison with other techniques (computed tomography or magnetic resonance), and with the surgical specimen.

We found 42 patients with a diagnosis of upper tract urothelial carcinoma confirmed with surgery over the period reviewed. Twenty-eight (67%) patients underwent contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Baseline ultrasound showed hydronephrosis with or without ureteral dilatation with echogenic content occupying the renal calyx (6), pelvis (10) or ureter (12). After injection of contrast, enhancement was noticed in 100% of the lesions, with similar intensity to the cortex in 23, and less in 5. Twenty-four lesions showed early washout, before the cortex, between 40 and 55seconds after the injection. The diagnosis was correct in 27 cases. Localisation coincided with the histological specimen in 28 cases, and 3 patients had additional distal carcinoma foci.

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound is a useful technique for diagnosing upper tract urothelial tumours that increases confidence in the diagnosis.

Radiologia. 2018 Sep 25 [Epub ahead of print]

A A Painel Seguel, M J Martínez Pérez, T Ripollés González, D P Gómez, J Vizuete Del Río, G Martín Benítez

Servicio de Radiodiagnóstico, Hospital Universitario Doctor Peset, Valencia, España. Electronic address: ., Servicio de Radiodiagnóstico, Hospital Universitario Doctor Peset, Valencia, España.