Can strain elastography predict malignancy of soft tissue tumors in a tertiary sarcoma center?

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This study aims to investigate the ability of ultrasound strain elastography as an adjunct to predict malignancy in soft tissue tumors suspect of sarcoma or metastasis in a tertiary reference center for sarcoma. A total of 137 patients were included prospectively. Patients were referred on the basis of clinical or radiological suspicion of malignant soft tissue tumor. All patients had previously undergone diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT or PET-CT). After recording strain elastography cine loops, ultrasound guided biopsy was performed. Three investigators, who were blinded to final diagnosis, reviewed all elastograms retrospectively. For each elastogram, a qualitative, visual 5-point score was decided in consensus and a strain ratio was calculated. Final pathology obtained from biopsy or tumor resection served as gold standard. Eighty-one tumors were benign, and 56 were malignant. t-tests showed a significant difference in mean visual score between benign and malignant tumors. There was no significant difference in mean strain ratio between the two groups. Strain elastography may be a valuable adjunct to conventional B-mode ultrasound, perhaps primarily in primary care, when considering whether to refer to a sarcoma center or to biopsy, although biopsies cannot reliably be ruled out based on the current data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Diagnostic ultrasound, Elastography, Sarcoma, Soft tissue tumors, Strain ratio, Tsukuba elasticity score

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