The differentiation of benign vs. neoplastic lymph nodes impacts patient management. Specific sonographic features are typically considered when assessing lymph nodes in dogs. However, the usefulness of these criteria in distinguishing benign vs. malignant lymph nodes remains largely unknown, especially for deep lymph nodes. Our aim was to compare sonographic features in benign and neoplastic deep lymph nodes with the hope of identifying predictive criteria. Thirty-one deep lymph nodes (16 mesenteric, 10 medial iliac, three hepatic, one sternal, and one cranial mediastinal) in 31 dogs were examined prospectively with B-mode and Color flow Doppler. Lymph nodes were aspirated using ultrasound-guidance and final diagnosis were established based on cytologic and/or histopathologic interpretation. Prevalence of each sonographic feature and combinations of two features was calculated for each group and compared using a χ(2) -test or Student's t-test for unequal variances. Ten lymph nodes were benign (hyperplastic and/or inflammatory) and 21 were neoplastic. All were hypoechoic, except for one neoplastic lymph node. Maximal short-axis diameter (P=0.0006) and long-axis diameter (P=0.01), and SA/LA ratio (P=0.008) were increased significantly for neoplastic (2.8, 5.5 cm, and 0.50, respectively) vs. benign (1.2, 3.8 cm, and 0.34, respectively) lymph nodes. The prevalence of other features was similar between groups. Doppler evaluation was possible in 77% of lymph nodes, but there was no significant difference between groups. When any two ultrasound features were combined, the only difference between benign and neoplastic lymph nodes was for the combination of contour regularity and appearance of the perinodal fat (P=0.03).
© 2011 Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound.