Radiographic staging practices of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer vary according to medical specialty

Gastrointest Endosc. 2015 Sep;82(3):497-502. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2015.01.039. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Background: Since 2008, multiple guidelines have endorsed incorporation of chest CT in the radiographic staging assessment of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC). Radiographic staging practices performed after CRC is detected have not been studied.

Objective: To evaluate radiographic staging practices for newly diagnosed CRC between gastroenterologists versus non-gastroenterologists.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: Single, tertiary-care referral center.

Patients: Patients newly diagnosed with a T1 or higher stage CRC at time of colonoscopy between 2008 and 2013.

Interventions: Radiographic staging.

Main outcome measurements: Radiographic preoperative staging examinations ordered by gastroenterologists in comparison to those ordered by non-gastroenterology specialists.

Results: This study included 277 patients with CRC newly diagnosed by colonoscopy. There were 141 total ordering physicians (68 gastroenterologists and 73 non-gastroenterologists). The majority of preoperative radiographic staging was performed by gastroenterologists (59.2% of patients, n = 164). Colorectal surgeons managed staging in 28.7% of patients (n = 47). Gastroenterologists were more likely to omit a staging chest CT than were non-gastroenterologists (64.6% vs 46.9%; P < .001). Physician practice setting, rectal location of tumor, and advanced endoscopic appearance of tumors were predictors of chest CT inclusion.

Limitations: Single center, moderate sample size of both providers and patients.

Conclusion: Gastroenterologists more frequently ordered the initial radiographic staging studies in newly diagnosed CRC patients. However, gastroenterologists were less likely to include chest CT in the initial staging of CRC despite current guideline recommendations to do so. If confirmed with further studies, educational efforts to improve compliance and standardization may be needed.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Surgery / standards*
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Community / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed