• hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • mouse;
  • ultrasound;
  • x/myc bitransgenic model

Abstract: Aims: To evaluate trans-abdominal ultrasound for the detection of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a bitrasgenic murine (X/myc) model using a commercially available high-frequency ultrasound unit.

Methods: Sixty-one female animals were included in this study. These animals were submitted to a single ultrasound examination of the liver under general anesthesia (isoflurane), and then euthanized. Results of ultrasound were compared with necropsy and histopathology.

Results: The lesions demonstrated a fairly consistent aspect (oval- or round-shaped, well-defined hypoechoic homogeneous lesions), and lesions as small as 2 mm were identified. For detection of hepatic nodules per mouse the sensitivity was 75%, the specificity was 100% and the accuracy was 88.5%. For detection of hepatic focal lesions per lesions the overall sensitivity was 60%, the specificity was 97%, and the accuracy was 75.9%. Contrast-enhanced harmonic ultrasound imaging did not improve the identification of the lesions in our experimental conditions.

Conclusion: High-frequency ultrasound appears to be an efficient tool allowing new possibilities to use this animal model and evaluate new therapies in longitudinal studies, which are much more powerful.