Visualization of Microvascular Angiogenesis Using Dual-Frequency Contrast-Enhanced Acoustic Angiography: A Review

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2020 Oct;46(10):2625-2635. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2020.06.009. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


Cancerous tumor growth is associated with the development of tortuous, chaotic microvasculature, and this aberrant microvascular morphology can act as a biomarker of malignant disease. Acoustic angiography is a contrast-enhanced ultrasound technique that relies on superharmonic imaging to form high-resolution 3-D maps of the microvasculature. To date, acoustic angiography has been performed with dual-element transducers that can achieve high contrast-to-tissue ratio and resolution in pre-clinical small animal models. In this review, we first describe the development of acoustic angiography, including the principle, transducer design, and optimization of superharmonic imaging techniques. We then detail several preclinical applications of this microvascular imaging method, as well as the current and future development of acoustic angiography as a pre-clinical and clinical diagnostic tool.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Angiography; Contrast agent; Microbubbles; Microvasculature; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Angiography / methods*
  • Angiography / trends
  • Animals
  • Contrast Media*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Microvessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography


  • Contrast Media