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Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2015 Oct 16;63(1):77-87. doi: 10.3233/CH-152009.

Characterization of histological subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma using contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS).

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Department of Clinical Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich-Grosshadern Campus, Marchioninistr., Munich, Germany.
Department of Urology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich-Grosshadern Campus, Marchioninistr., Munich, Germany.



The aim of this study was to analyze the histological subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) examined by means of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and a second generation blood pool agent (SonoVue®, Bracco, Milan, Italy) during the pre-operative phase.


29 patients with histologically proven subtypes of clear cell RCC were examined. A total of three patients were diagnosed with highly differentiated clear cell RCC, 21 out of 29 cases with moderately differentiated clear cell RCC and five out of 29 patients had insufficiently differentiated clear cell RCC. An experienced radiologist examined the patients with CEUS. The following parameters were analyzed: maximum signal intensity (PEAK), time elapsed until PEAK is reached (MTT), local blood flow (RBF), area under the time intensity curve (AUC) and the signal intensity (SI) during the course of time. For the groups all comparisons are made based on healthy renal parenchyma.


In the clear cell RCC significant differences (significance level p < 0.05) between cancerous tissue and the healthy renal parenchyma were noticed in all four parameters. Therefore, the clear cell RCC stands out due to its reduced blood volume. However, it reached the PEAK reading relatively rapidly and its signal intensity was always lower than that of the healthy renal parenchyma. In the arterial phase retarded absorption of the contrast agent was observed, followed by fast washing out of the contrast agent bubbles.In all three histological subgroups no significant differences were noticed in PEAK and SI. However, the diagrams showed the possible bias, that the group of the insufficiently differentiated clear cell RCC had the highest PEAK-value and the highest signal intensity when compared with highly and moderately differentiated clear cell RCC.


Our study suggests that CEUS may be an additional tool for non-invasive characterisation and differentiation of the three histological subtypes of clear cell RCC. Furthermore, it seems to have an additional diagnostic value in daily clinical.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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