Hungarian Radiology

[Sonographic appearance of the cytostatic therapyrelated hepatic injury]


JUNE 20, 2007

Hungarian Radiology - 2007;81(03-04)

[INTRODUCTION - The correlation between biochemical parameters and sonographic appearance of the liver in children and young adults receiving cytostatic therapy was investigated. PATIENTS AND METHODS - 104 (54 male, 50 female) patients at the hemato-oncologic unit of 2nd Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis University Budapest were enrolled into this prospective, single-blind, uncontrolled study: patients’ ages were between 2.0 and 32.7 years (mean 12.2 yrs, ± SD 5.7). 69 patients received chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 35 patiens for osteogenic osteosarcoma (OSC). The time interval between the initiation of the cytostatic therapy and the examination was between 1 month and 16 years (mean 3.9 yrs). Ultrasonography was performed after 5-8 hours of fasting, without sedation. Echogenicity, distal attenuation of liver parenchyma and Doppler waveforms of the hepatic vein branches were evaluated. Alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) activity were measured in peripheric blood samples. Statistical correlation was analysed between sonographic appearance and biochemical parameters of the liver. RESULTS - 35 patients had at least one sonographic abnormality: of these, 9 had elevated enzyme activity. Among the 69 patients with normal ultrasound findings, only 2 had increased enzyme activity (Chi square test, p=0.001). When tested against enzyme activity, echogenicity and attenuation showed significant (p=0.002 and p=0.01, respectively), Doppler waveform in the hepatic vein branches showed marginally significant correlation (p=0.05). All three ultrasound parameters had low sensitivity regarding the elevation of enzyme levels, however attenuation and hepatic vein waveform proved to be specific (both 94%) for enzyme level elevation and all three showed high negative predictive values (96%, 93% and 92%, respectively). When combining all three sonographic parameters in a single variable, correlation was even higher (p=0.001), sensitivity became acceptable (82%) and negative predictive value increased further to 97%. CONCLUSIONS - The authors conclude that a correlation exists between three simple sonographic indicators (echogenecity, distal attenuation, Doppler waveforms of the HVs) and liver injury detected by biochemical parameters. Due to the low sensitivity of the ultrasound parameters to confirm of the presence of diffuse liver injury is not possible. However, the combined use of the ultrasound and biochemical parameters a good negative predictive power can be achieved and therefore this is a useful tool in the follow-up for hepatic status.]


  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, II. Sz. Gyermekgyógyászati Klinika, Budapest



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