Purpose: To prospectively evaluate the accuracy of multi-detector row computed tomography (CT) gastrography for preoperative staging of gastric cancer, with pathologic and surgical results as the reference standard.
Materials and methods: This study was approved by the institutional review board, and patients gave written informed consent. One hundred six patients (72 male, 34 female; mean age, 56 years) with endoscopically proved gastric cancer underwent unenhanced and contrast material-enhanced multi-detector row CT gastrography, with effervescent granules used as oral contrast material. Two experienced radiologists independently evaluated the depth of tumor invasion into the gastric wall (tumor staging), the involvement of regional lymph nodes (nodal staging), and the presence or absence of metastasis (metastatic staging) on transverse and volumetric CT images, which included images produced with multiplanar reformation and a virtual endoscopic technique. TNM staging of each tumor was compared with the pathologic and surgical results. Diagnostic accuracy in TNM staging was analyzed.
Results: Gastric cancer was detected in 92 (87%) of 106 study patients with transverse CT imaging and in 104 (98%) with volumetric CT imaging. The overall accuracy of the tumor staging was 77% with transverse CT imaging and 84% with volumetric CT imaging (P < .001). The overall accuracy for lymph node staging was 62% with transverse CT imaging and 64% with volumetric CT imaging (P = .057). For staging of metastases, there was no difference between transverse and volumetric CT imaging (86% for both) (P > .99).
Conclusion: Multi-detector row CT gastrography with multiplanar reformation and virtual endoscopy, compared with transverse CT imaging, can improve the accuracy of preoperative staging of gastric cancer. This difference was significant for tumor staging but not for the staging of lymph nodes and metastases.