Clin Endosc.  2019 Jul;52(4):306-313. 10.5946/ce.2019.056.

Contrast Enhanced Endoscopic Ultrasound Imaging for Gastrointestinal Subepithelial Tumors

  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan.


Subepithelial tumors are divided into benign subepithelial and potentially malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumors. It is difficult to distinguish between these tumor types. Contrast-enhanced harmonic endoscopic ultrasound is reportedly useful for diagnosing subepithelial tumors, can be safely and easily performed by understanding the principle and method, and can be used to distinguish between tumor types with high sensitivity on the basis of differences in contrast effect. The generated image shows a hyper-enhancement pattern in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (sensitivity, 78%-100%; specificity, 60%-100%; accuracy, 60%-100%) and hypo-enhancement pattern in benign subepithelial tumors. Contrast-enhanced harmonic endoscopic ultrasound can be used to estimate the malignancy potential of gastrointestinal stromal tumors by evaluating the uniformity of the contrast and the blood vessels inside the tumor, with abnormal intra-tumor blood vessels, heterogeneous enhancement, and non-enhancing spots suggesting malignancy. Contrast-enhanced harmonic endoscopic ultrasound has a higher sensitivity than other imaging modalities for the detection of vascularity within gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Additionally, it has been reported that treatment effects can be estimated by evaluating the blood flow in the gastrointestinal stromal tumor before and after treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors using contrast-enhanced ultrasound. However, there will be subjective-bias and the results depends on the performer's skill.


Gastrointestinal stromal tumor; Subepithelial tumor; Contrast-enhanced endoscopic ultrasound; High

MeSH Terms

Blood Vessels
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
Sensitivity and Specificity
Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
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