Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate contrast-enhanced Doppler sonography with perfusion software as a predictor of early tumor response to imatinib (Glivec) in c-kit-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs).
Subjects and methods: Thirty patients (59 tumors) with metastases or a recurrence from a GIST were prospectively included in a single-center imaging trial. Contrast-enhanced Doppler sonography was performed with an Aplio scanner the day before (day-1) starting oral treatment (400 mg) and at days 1, 7, 14, 60, 90, and 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year. The percentage of contrast uptake (Levovist or Sonovue) before treatment and at the different stages of follow-up was evaluated by two radiologists. Digitized quantification was performed using Photoshop software. To define the benchmark standard, all patients were rated as responders or nonresponders at 2 and 6 months by a board consisting of oncologists and radiologists who had all clinical and imaging data at their disposal. Changes in the percentage of contrast uptake at each sonographic examination were compared statistically.
Results: A total of 185 examinations were performed. Forty-four lesions in 24 patients were completely evaluated at 2 months, and 29 lesions in 15 patients were completely evaluated at 6 months. Initial contrast uptake at day 1 was predictive of the future response. A strong correlation was found between the decline in tumor contrast uptake at days 7 and 14 and tumor response (p < 10(-4)).
Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced Doppler sonography is a noninvasive imaging technique that allows the early prediction of tumor response in c-kit-positive GIST treated with Glivec.