September 25, 2008 - In a milestone for virtual colonoscopy, the New England Journal of Medicine published results from the first large multicenter trial of virtual colonoscopy (VC or CT colonography (CTC)), that show VC’s accuracy is comparable to the gold standard optical colonoscopy in detecting clinically significant colorectal polyps.
The results of the study, Accuracy of CT Colonography for Detection of Large Adenomas and Cancers (the New England Journal of Medicine on September 18, 2008, Vol. 359:1207-1217) found that CT colonography identified 90 percent of patients with asymptomatic large colorectal adenomas or cancers that were detected by optical colonoscopy with area under the curve of 0.89. Although the effectiveness of CT colonography remains controversial among experts, the American Cancer Society updated its five-year screening guidelines in March to include virtual colonoscopy.
The study, which involved more than 2600 patients at 15 sites across the U.S., comes at a pivotal moment for colon cancer screening, as patients are hesitant to be screened due to the uncomfortable, invasive procedure of the optical colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common form of cancer and second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world, causing 655,000 deaths worldwide per year. Colorectal cancer is on the rise in the U.S. with 112,340 (colon) and 41,240 (rectal) newly diagnosed cases, along with 52,180 deaths from colon and rectal cancer combined being reported thus far from 2007.
For more information: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/359/12/1207