Transabdominal contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging of the prostate

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2015 Apr;41(4):1112-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2014.10.014. Epub 2015 Feb 17.


Numerous age-related pathologies affect the prostate gland, the most menacing of which is prostate cancer (PCa). The diagnostic tools for prostate investigation are invasive, requiring biopsies when PCa is suspected. Novel dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound (DCE-US) imaging approaches have been proposed recently and appear promising for minimally invasive localization of PCa. Ultrasound imaging of the prostate is traditionally performed with a transrectal probe because the location of the prostate allows for high-resolution images using high-frequency transducers. However, DCE-US imaging requires lower frequencies to induce bubble resonance and, thus, improve contrast-to-tissue ratio. For this reason, in this study we investigate the feasibility of quantitative DCE-US imaging of the prostate via the abdomen. The study included 10 patients (age = 60.7 ± 5.7 y) referred for a needle biopsy study. After having given informed consent, patients underwent DCE-US with both transabdominal and transrectal probes. Time-intensity contrast curves were derived using both approaches and their model-fit quality was compared. Although further improvements are expected by optimization of the transabdominal settings, the results of transabdominal and transrectal DCE-US are closely comparable, confirming the feasibility of transabdominal DCE-US; transabdominal curve fitting revealed an average determination coefficient r(2) = 0.91 (r(2) > 0.75 for 78.6% of all prostate pixels) compared with r(2) = 0.91 (r(2) > 0.75 for 81.6% of all prostate pixels) by the transrectal approach. Replacing the transrectal approach with more acceptable transabdominal scanning for prostate investigation is feasible. This approach would improve patient comfort and represent a useful option for PCa localization and monitoring.

Keywords: Contrast-enhanced ultrasound; Dilution curve; Perfusion; Prostate cancer; Transabdominal ultrasound; Transrectal ultrasound; Ultrasound contrast agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography


  • Contrast Media