Researchers discovered transabdominal ultrasounds to be highly valuable in predicting the biological risks of developing gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), according to a new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.

The uses of ultrasounds in the context of GISTs are primarily focused on limited parameters, such as diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis evaluation. Guo and colleagues wanted to investigate if ultrasounds can play a more significant role in predicting the biological risks of developing GISTs.

“Recently, with the application of oral gastrointestinal ultrasound contrast agents, and the improvement of color Doppler ultrasound resolution and technology, transabdominal ultrasound has been able to distinguish the hierarchical structure of the gastrointestinal wall, exhibiting value in GISTs diagnosis,” they explained.

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Guo and colleagues thus conducted a retrospective study on 191 patients with GISTs. All relevant clinical data on the GIST (such as tumor location, echo homogeneity, shape, and blood flow signals) were collected.

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Color Doppler ultrasonic diagnosis apparatus was used and transabdominal ultrasound was performed using a line array probe with a center frequency of 7 MHz and a convex array probe with 3-5 MHz. Participants were divided into 3 groups (low-, moderate-, and high-risk). 

The researchers discovered statistically significant differences in the parameters measured among the low-, moderate-, and high-risk groups. These parameters included echo homogeneity, boundary, shape, necrotic cystic degeneration, and more.

The logistic regression model performed based on these statistically significant parameters yielded an accuracy rate of 76.96% in predicting the biological risk of developing GIST. This figure is higher than the 72.77% accuracy rate provided through the decision tree model. 

“Transabdominal ultrasound has significant value in predicting the risk of GISTs,” the research team concluded.

“The logistic regression model established based on the echo homogeneity, shape, necrotic cystic degeneration and blood flow signals had a higher ability to predict the biological risk of GISTs than the decision tree model established based on the long diameter, the location of tumor origin, echo homogeneity, shape, and internal echo.” 


Guo JJ, Tang XB, Qian QF, et al. Application of ultrasonography in predicting the biological risk of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2021;15:1-7. doi:10.1080/00365521.2021.2002396