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Br J Radiol. 2015 Jun;88(1050):20140797. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20140797. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Strain elastography features of epidermoid tumours in superficial soft tissue: differences from other benign soft-tissue tumours and malignant tumours.

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1 Department of Radiology, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



We evaluated ultrasonographic features of superficial epidermoid tumour with a focus on strain elastography (SE) features that will help in the differential diagnosis of epidermoid tumour from other benign and malignant soft-tissue tumours.


We retrospectively evaluated ultrasonographic and SE data of 103 surgically confirmed superficial soft-tissue tumours and tumour-like lesions: 29 cases of epidermoid tumour, 46 cases of other benign tumours and 28 cases of malignant tumour. SE and B-mode imaging were performed at the same time. SE characteristics were assigned into four grades (1-4) according to their elasticity. Interobserver agreement for the four SE scores between the two radiologists was analysed using kappa statistics. We classified each SE finding as a hard lesion (SE Score 3-4) or soft lesion (SE Score 1-2) and compared these findings using the χ(2) test to identify whether a significant difference in mass hardness existed among epidermoid tumour, other benign tumour and malignant tumour.


Overall interobserver agreement according to the four SE scores was moderate (κ = 0.540), and overall agreement for the hardness [soft (Score 1-2) or hard (Score 3-4)] was almost perfect (κ = 0.825). Malignant tumours showed higher SE scores (3-4, hard nature) than did epidermoid tumour or other benign soft-tissue tumours. There were no differences in SE score between epidermoid tumour and other benign tumours.


Superficial epidermoid tumour exhibits a softer nature than does malignant tumour but does not have a different SE pattern from other benign tumours.


SE features of epidermoid tumour might be helpful in differentiating from other benign and malignant tumours.

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