Therapeutic response monitoring after targeted therapy in an orthotopic rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma using contrast-enhanced ultrasound: focusing on inter-scanner, and inter-operator reproducibility
The aim of this study was to assess therapeutic response monitoring after anti-angiogenic therapy in an orthotopic rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using CEUS with focusing on inter-scanner and inter-operator reproducibility. For reproducibility, CEUS was performed using two different US scanners by two operators in sixteen rat models of HCC. Using perfusion analysis software (VueBox ®), eleven parameters were collected, and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to analyze reproducibility. Then seventeen rat models of HCC were divided into treatment group (n = 8, 30 mg/kg/day sorafenib for five days) and control group (n = 9). CEUS was performed at baseline and 14 days after first treatment, and changes of perfusion parameters were analyzed. In treatment group, CEUS perfusion parameters showed a significant change. The peak enhancement (PE, 2.50 x103±1.68 x103 vs 5.55x102±4.65x102, p = 0.010) and wash-in and wash out AUC (WiWoAUC, 1.07x105±6.48 x104 vs 2.65x104±2.25x104, p = 0.009) had significantly decreased two weeks after treatment. On the contrary, control group did not show a significant change, including PE (1.15 x103±7.53x102 vs 9.43x102± 7.81 x102, p = 0.632) and WiWoAUC (5.09 x104±3.25x104 vs 5.92 x104±3.20x104, p = 0.646). For reproducibility, the various degrees of inter-scanner reproducibility were from poor to good (ICC: <0.01-0.63). However, inter-operator reproducibility of important perfusion parameters, including WiAUC, WoAUC, and WiWoAUC, ranged from fair to excellent (ICC: 0.59-0.93) in a different scanner. Therefore, CEUS was useful for assessment of the treatment response after targeted therapy and with fair to excellent inter-operator reproducibility.