Journal Club: October 2010

Abdom Imaging. 2010 Oct;35(5):589-95. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Comparison of CT colonography vs. conventional colonoscopy in mapping the segmental location of colon cancer before surgery.

Neri E, Turini F, Cerri F, Faggioni L, Vagli P, Naldini G, Bartolozzi C.


Once presence of a colorectal cancer has been diagnosed, a key factor for patient's prognosis in view of surgical intervention is the correct segmental localization and resection of the tumor. The aim of this work was to compare the accuracy of the current gold standard technique, conventional colonoscopy (CC), to computed tomography colonography (CTC) in the segmental localization of tumor. Sixty-five patients (mean age 64; 45 female and 19 male) with colorectal cancer diagnosed at colonoscopy underwent CTC before surgery. In 45 out of 65 cases (69%), patients were referred to CTC after incomplete CC. Reasons were patient intolerance to CC or presence of stenosing cancer, with consistent difficulties in crossing the tract of the colon involved by the lesion. CTC allowed the complete colonic examination in 63/65 cases, since in 2 patients with an obstructing lesion of the sigmoid colon, pneumocolon could not be obtained. However, per patient and per lesion sensitivity of CTC was 100%. Difference from colonoscopy was statistically significant (P < 0.05). In terms of segmental localization of masses, CTC located precisely all lesions, while colonoscopy failed in 16/67 (24%) lesions, though six were missed for incomplete colonoscopy (9%). In the remaining 10/67 (15%) lesions, detected by colonoscopy but incorrectly located, the mismatch occurred in the rectum (n = 3), sigmoid (n = 2), descending (n = 1), transverse (n = 2), ascending colon, and cecum. Agreement between CTC and CC was fair (k value 0.62). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of CTC in determining the precise location of colonic masses were respectively 100%, 96%, 85%, and 100%. CT detected hepatic (6/65 patients) and lung metastases (3/65 patients). CT colonography has better performance in the identification of colonic masses (diameter > 3 cm), in the completion of colonic evaluation and in the segmental localization of tumor. CTC should replace colonoscopy for preoperative staging of colorectal cancer.