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New Evidence Supports Non-invasive Routine Screening And Earlier Diagnosis Of Colon Cancer

New results of a pivotal study recently presented at a meeting of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), showed that Computed Tomography (CT) colonography is at least as sensitive as conventional colonoscopy in detecting adenomas of 1 cm diameter or larger. Adenomas are precursors to colorectal cancer, the second most common cause of death from cancer in the EU with more than 138,000 deaths in 20001. The results of the study are expected to lead to wider adoption of CT colonography (also known as virtual colonoscopy) as routine screening for colorectal cancer. The study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), was initiated in 2005 and has involved more than 2,500 asymptomatic patients aged 50 or over at 15 centres across the USA.

The trial compared the detection of polyps and early-stage cancer of the colon using either conventional optical colonoscopy or CT colonography, in which X-ray slice images are reconstructed by computer to provide a virtual image of the colon. Patients were investigated using both procedures and the resulting CT images were read by a panel of radiologists.

Dr Stuart Taylor of University College Hospital, London, a consultant radiologist, commented: "This very well designed study is the largest to date which has specifically investigated the use of CT colonography to screen for colorectal neoplasia in asymptomatic individuals, and has produced very positive results. The 90% sensitivity for identifying patients harbouring a 1 cm adenoma essentially validates the previously reported excellent performance of screening CT colonography by Dr Perry Pickhardt in 2003. I think we can now conclude that, when performed by appropriately trained readers, CT colonography is a viable and robust screening tool for colorectal cancer."

Click here to see the rest of this article in Medical News Today


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