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Keywords:

  • contrast-enhanced ultrasonography;
  • Doppler;
  • liver;
  • lymph node;
  • metastases

Diagnostic imaging techniques are an important part of the diagnostic workup and staging of cancer patients. Ultrasound is of particular interest in this respect. In so far as tumor metastases are concerned, ultrasonography of regional lymph nodes and of the liver can provide valuable information. In humans many criteria, some of them objective, have been evaluated as indicators of malignancy. The most diagnostically helpful of these include the short/long axis ratio of the lymph node, the pattern of distribution of the blood vessels within the lymph node, and to some extent the calculated values for resistive and pulsatility indices. Putative objective criteria to improve the specificity of ultrasound for metastases detection in the liver have also been evaluated. These include perfusion indices, primarily using analysis of Doppler frequencies (Doppler perfusion index) and hepatic venography using an ultrasound contrast agent. Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography is a new and promising area to help the initial diagnosis and characterization of malignancy, particularly for focal lesions in the liver. This review discusses the use of ultrasound for detection of metastases and presents material from four veterinary cases.