Purpose To evaluate colorectal cancer hepatic metastasis detection and characterization between reduced radiation dose (RD) and standard dose (SD) contrast material-enhanced CT of the abdomen and to qualitatively compare between filtered back projection (FBP) and iterative reconstruction algorithms. Materials and Methods In this prospective study (from May 2017 through November 2017), 52 adults with biopsy-proven colorectal cancer and suspected hepatic metastases at baseline CT underwent two portal venous phase CT scans: SD and RD in the same breath hold. Three radiologists, blinded to examination details, performed detection and characterization of 2-15-mm lesions on the SD FBP and RD adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR)-V 60% series images. Readers assessed overall image quality and lesions between SD FBP and seven different iterative reconstructions. Two nonblinded consensus reviewers established the reference standard using the picture archiving and communication system lesion marks of each reader, multiple comparison examinations, and clinical data. Results RD CT resulted in a mean dose reduction of 54% compared with SD. Of the 260 lesions (233 metastatic, 27 benign), 212 (82%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 76%, 86%) were detected with RD CT, whereas 252 (97%; 95% CI: 94%, 99%) were detected with SD (P < .001); per-lesion sensitivity was 79% (95% CI: 74%, 84%) and 94% (95% CI: 90%, 96%) (P < .001), respectively. Mean qualitative scores ranked SD images as higher quality than RD series images, and ASIR-V ranked higher than ASIR and Veo 3.0. Conclusion CT evaluation of colorectal liver metastases is compromised with modest radiation dose reduction, and the use of iterative reconstructions could not maintain observer performance. © RSNA, 2018.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03151564.