Non-contrast power Doppler ultrasound imaging for early assessment of trans-arterial chemoembolization of liver tumors
Trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is an important yet variably effective treatment for management of hepatic malignancies. Lack of response can be in part due to inability to assess treatment adequacy in real-time. Gold-standard contrast enhanced computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, although effective, suffer from treatment-induced artifacts that prevent early treatment evaluation. Non-contrast ultrasound is a potential solution but has historically been ineffective at detecting treatment response. Here, we propose non-contrast ultrasound with recent perfusion-focused advancements as a tool for immediate evaluation of TACE. We demonstrate initial feasibility in an 11-subject pilot study. Treatment-induced changes in tumor perfusion are detected best when combining adaptive demodulation (AD) and singular value decomposition (SVD) techniques. Using a 0.5 s (300-sample) ensemble size, AD + SVD resulted in a 7.42 dB median decrease in tumor power after TACE compared to only a 0.06 dB median decrease with conventional methods.