Value of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in differential diagnosis of solid lesions of pancreas (SLP): A systematic review and a meta-analysis

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Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is considered a novel method for diagnosing pancreatic cancer, but currently, there is no conclusive evidence of its accuracy. Using CEUS in discriminating between pancreatic carcinoma and other pancreatic lesions, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of CEUS in predicting pancreatic tumours.


Relevant studies were selected from the PubMed, Cochrane Library, Elsevier, CNKI, VIP, and WANFANG databases dating from January 2006 to May 2017. The following terms were used as keywords: “pancreatic cancer” OR “pancreatic carcinoma,” “contrast-enhanced ultrasonography” OR “contrast-enhanced ultrasound” OR “CEUS,” and “diagnosis.” The selection criteria are as follows: pancreatic carcinomas diagnosed by CEUS while the main reference standard was surgical pathology or biopsy (if it involved a clinical diagnosis, particular criteria emphasized); SonoVue or Levovist was the contrast agent; true positive, false positive, false negative, and true negative rates were obtained or calculated to construct the 2 × 2 contingency table; English or Chinese articles; at least 20 patients were enrolled in each group. The Quality Assessment for Studies of Diagnostic Accuracy was employed to evaluate the quality of articles. Pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, diagnostic odds ratio, summary receiver-operating characteristic curves, and the area under curve were evaluated to estimate the overall diagnostic efficiency. Pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with fixed-effect models.


Eight of 184 records were eligible for a meta-analysis after independent scrutinization by 2 reviewers. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, and diagnostic odds ratios were 0.86 (95% CI 0.81–0.90), 0.75 (95% CI 0.68–0.82), 3.56 (95% CI 2.64–4.78), 0.19 (95% CI 0.13–0.27), and 22.260 (95% CI 8.980–55.177), respectively. The area under the SROC curve was 0.9088.


CEUS has a satisfying pooled sensitivity and specificity for discriminating pancreatic cancer from other pancreatic lesions.

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