Routine CT examinations are crucial in colorectal cancer patients (CCPs); however, the high frequency of radiation exposure is a significant concern. This study investigated the radiation dose, image quality, and diagnostic performance of tin filter-based spectral shaping chest-abdominal-pelvic (CAP) CT for CCPs. We reviewed 44 CCPs who underwent single-phase enhanced tin-filtered 100 kV (TF100kV) and standard 120 kV (ST120kV) CAP CT on separate days. Radiation metrics including the volume CT dose index (CTDIvol), dose-length product (DLP), and effective dose (ED) were calculated for both protocols. Two radiologists assessed the presence of the following lesions: lung metastasis, liver metastasis, lymph node metastasis, peritoneal dissemination, and bone metastasis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was calculated for the diagnostic performance of each protocol. Radiation metrics of the TF100kV protocol were significantly lower than those of the ST120kV protocol (CDTIvol 1.60 ± 0.31 mGy vs. 14.4 ± 2.50, p < 0.0001; DLP 107.1 (95.9-125.5) mGy·cm vs. 996.7 (886.2-1144.3), p < 0.0001; ED 1.93 (1.73-2.26) mSv vs. 17.9 (16.0-20.6), p < 0.0001, respectively). TF100kV protocol achieved comparable diagnostic performance to that of the ST120kV protocol (AUC for lung metastasis: 1.00 vs. 0.94; liver metastasis: 0.88 vs. 0.83, respectively). TF100kV protocol could substantially reduce the radiation dose by 89% compared to that with the ST120kV protocol while maintaining good diagnostic performance in CCPs.
Keywords: colorectal cancer; dose reduction; spectral shaping technique.