Efficacy Of Ultrasonography In The Diagnosis Of Oral Cancer: A Systematic Review

Roopali Mahajan

Mahajan, Roopali, Tanaka, Takako, Mupparapu, Mel
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Medicine


Ultrasonography is well‚Äźknown for its medical applications and has a role to play in evaluating cancers related to orofacial region. Various modern imaging techniques like digital radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography have made an immense contribution in the diagnosis of malignancies in the orofacial region. But the limitation is that these are very expensive and are not available universally. Ultrasonography, however, can be used an effective supplemental diagnostic tool for oral cancer that is widely available, relatively inexpensive, noninvasive, and easily reproducible. The aim of this systematic review and the PICO-T question was, “What is the efficacy of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of oral cancer and its reliability with histopathological findings?”. In addition, the secondary objective is to determine the ideal frequency ranges /types of probes used in ultrasonographic examination of oral cancerous lesions.


Medical databases, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, Ovid and Google Scholar were searched using controlled vocabulary. The search was limited to English language, humans, and to the literature published in the last 10 years. The gold standard of diagnosis in oral cancer being histopathology, the validity of ultrasonography findings was compared with histopathological findings among the published literature used for this study. The results were tabulated and analyzed statistically using MS Excel® software.


A PRISMA statement flow diagram was used. A total of 5 studies were used for qualitative synthesis and retained. It was noted that the most common probe used in orofacial region is linear array transducer with the frequency in the range of 7.5-15 MHz. Ultrasonography was found to be 80%- 100% reliable in diagnosing all the cases of oral cancer based on the review with respect to ultrasonography and correlated histopathology.


Although ultrasonography is not a definitive method for the diagnosis of oral cancer, it is used as an adjunct to study the disease before a definitive diagnosis can be arrived using the histopathology.