Objective—To describe the contrast-enhanced ultrasonographic characteristics and vascular patterns of adrenal gland tumors in dogs and determine whether those features are indicative of malignancy or histologic type of tumor.
Animals—14 dogs with 16 adrenal gland lesions (10 carcinomas [8 dogs], 3 adenomas [3 dogs], and 3 pheochromocytomas [3 dogs]).
Procedures—Unsedated dogs with adrenal gland lesions underwent B-mode ultrasonography and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography ≤ 48 hours before adrenalectomy; contrast-enhanced ultrasonographic examinations were video-recorded. Macroscopic evaluation of the adrenal gland lesions and histologic examination of removed adrenal gland tissues were subsequently performed. Surgical and histopathologic findings and the ultrasonographic and contrast-enhanced ultrasonographic characteristics were recorded for the various tumor types. Time-intensity curves were generated from the contrast-enhanced ultrasonographic recordings and used to calculate regional blood volume (value proportional to area under the curve) and mean transit time (time the lesion began to enhance to the half-peak intensity).
Results—In adrenal gland carcinomas, tortuous feeding vessels were noticeable during the arterial and venous phases of contrast enhancement. Heterogeneity of contrast enhancement was evident only in malignant tumors. Compared with adenomas, adrenal gland carcinomas and pheochromocytomas had significantly less regional blood volume. Mean transit times were significantly shorter in adrenal gland carcinomas and pheochromocytomas than in adenomas.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For dogs, evaluation of the vascular pattern and contrast-enhancement characteristics of adrenal gland tumors by means of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography may be useful in assessment of malignancy and tumor type.