Use of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography for the characterization of tumor thrombi in seven dogs.
Tumors of adrenal and thyroid glands have been associated with vascular invasions - so-called tumor thrombi, both in humans and dogs. The detection and characterization of venous thrombi is an important diagnostic step in patients with primary tumors for both surgical planning and prognosis. The aim of this study was to describe the use of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) for the characterization of tumor thrombi. Dogs with tumor thrombus who underwent bi-dimensional ultrasound (B-mode US) and CEUS were included. Seven dogs were enrolled in this retrospective case series. On B-mode US, all thrombi were visualized, and vascular distension and thrombus-tumor continuity were seen in three and two cases, respectively. On color Doppler examination, all thrombi were identified, seemed non-occlusive and only two presented vascularity. On CEUS, arterial-phase enhancement and washout in the venous phase were observed in all cases. Non-enhancing areas were identified in the tumor thrombi most likely representing non-vascularized tissue that could potentially be embolized in the lungs after fragmentation of the tumor thrombi. On the basis of these preliminary study, CEUS appeared to be useful for the characterization of malignant intravascular invasion.