CT Finds Unsuspected Cancer in More Than One in 200

In asymptomatic adults having CT colonography, many cancers are found outside the colon

TUESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- In asymptomatic adults who have routine screening computed tomography (CT) colonography, unsuspected cancer is found in about one per 200, with many of the cancers occurring outside the colon, according to research published in the April issue of Radiology.

Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health in Madison, and colleagues analyzed data from 10,286 asymptomatic adults (mean age, 59.8 years) who underwent outpatient screening CT colonography.

According to the researchers, unsuspected cancer was pathologically confirmed in 58 patients (0.56 percent). This number included invasive colorectal carcinoma in 22 patients and extracolonic cancer in 36 patients. The most common extracolonic malignancies were renal cell carcinoma (11), lung cancer (8), and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (6). In 53.4 percent of cases, the disease was stage I or localized.

"In conclusion, clinically unsuspected cancer was detected at routine screening CT colonography of generally healthy adults with a frequency of greater than one case per 200 individuals screened. Although invasive colorectal carcinoma was the most common malignancy overall, most detected cancers were extracolonic in location. Presymptomatic detection of unsuspected colorectal and extracolonic malignancy resulted in a high rate of localized or early-stage tumors, with a very favorable clinical outcome to date," the authors write.

Two co-authors reported financial relationships with Viatronix, Medicsight and VirtuoCTC, and one has consulted for Covidien & Philips.

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