Detection of colorectal lesions: lower-dose multi-detector row helical CT colonography compared with conventional colonoscopy

Radiology. 2003 Dec;229(3):775-81. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2293021399.


Purpose: To compare the performance of lower-dose multi-detector row helical computed tomographic (CT) colonography with that of conventional colonoscopy in the detection of colorectal lesions.

Materials and methods: One hundred fifty-eight patients underwent multi-detector row helical CT colonography (beam collimation, 4 x 2.5 mm; table feed, 17.5 mm/sec; voltage, 140 kV; and effective dose, 10 mAs) followed by conventional colonoscopy. Conventional colonoscopy served as the reference standard. Two radiologists interpreted CT colonographic images to assess the presence of polyps or carcinomas. Sensitivity was calculated on both a per-polyp and a per-patient basis. In the latter, specificity and positive and negative predictive values were also calculated. Weighted CT dose index was calculated on the basis of measurements obtained in a standard body phantom. Effective dose was estimated by using commercially available software.

Results: CT colonography correctly depicted all 22 carcinomas (sensitivity, 100%) and 52 of 74 polyps (sensitivity, 70.3%). Sensitivity for detection was 100% in all 13 polyps 10 mm or larger in diameter, 83.3% in 20 of 24 polyps 6-9 mm, and 51.3% in 19 of 37 lesions 5 mm or smaller. With regard to the per-patient analysis, CT colonography had a sensitivity of 96.0%, a specificity of 96.6%, a positive predictive value of 94.1%, and a negative predictive value of 97.7%. The total weighted CT dose index for combined prone and supine acquisitions was 2.74 mGy. The simulated effective doses for complete CT colonography were 1.8 mSv in men and 2.4 mSv in women.

Conclusion: Lower-dose multi-detector row helical CT colonography ensures substantial dose reduction while maintaining excellent sensitivity for detection of colorectal carcinomas and polyps larger than 6 mm in diameter.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonography, Computed Tomographic / methods*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed / methods*