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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-98

Utility of ultrasound elastography to differentiate benign from malignant cervical lymph nodes

Department of Radiology, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vikrant Kanagaraju
Department of Radiology, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore - 641 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JMU.JMU_72_19

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Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of strain elastography and acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging in the differentiation of benign and malignant cervical lymph nodes (LNs). Materials and Methods: In this prospective study, 50 enlarged cervical LNs (33 benign and 17 malignant) were examined by B-mode ultrasound (US), color Doppler, and strain elastography. Elastographic patterns (1–5) were categorized based on distribution of hard area within LN. The shear wave velocity (SWV) of LNs was evaluated by ARFI imaging. Diagnostic performance of sonoelastographic parameters was compared taking histopathology of LN as a reference standard. Optimal cutoff value of the mean SWV values for predicting malignancy was determined using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Results: Among US parameters, borders of LN had the highest diagnostic accuracy (80%), while echogenicity had the least (48%). Majority of benign LNs (n = 31) had elastography patterns 1 and 2, while majority of malignant LNs (n = 16) had patterns 3–5 (P = 0.000). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of elastography were 94.1%, 93.9%, and 94%, respectively. The mean SWV of benign LNs (1.670 ± 0.367 m/s) differed significantly from malignant LNs (2.965 ± 0.826 m/s; P = 0.000). A cutoff value of 2.05 m/s predicted malignancy with 88.2% sensitivity and 84.8% specificity and gave an area under the curve of 0.949 (95% confidence interval: 0.70–1.20). Conclusion: Elastography has high diagnostic accuracy in differentiating benign and malignant cervical LNs and can be potentially useful in selecting the LN with high probability of malignancy, on which fine-needle aspiration cytology/biopsy can be performed.

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