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Ann Coloproctol. 2017 Oct;33(5):192-196. doi: 10.3393/ac.2017.33.5.192. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Accuracy of Preoperative Local Staging of Primary Colorectal Cancer by Using Computed Tomography: Reappraisal Based on Data Collected at a Highly Organized Cancer Center.

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Department of Surgery, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
Department of Radiology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
Department of Pathology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



In patients with colorectal cancer, preoperative staging using various imaging technologies is important for establishing the treatment plan and predicting the prognosis. Although computed tomography (CT) has been used most widely, the versatility of CT accuracy was primarily because of the lack of specialization. In this study, we aimed to identify whether any advancement in abdominal CT accuracy in the prediction of local staging has occurred.


Between December 2014 and November 2015, patients with colorectal cancer were retrospectively enrolled. All CT findings were retrospectively reported. A total of 285 patients were included, and their retrospectively collected data were retrospectively reviewed, focusing on a comparison between preoperative and postoperative staging.


The overall prediction accuracy of the T stage was 55.1%, with overstaging occurring in 63 (22.1%) and understaging in 65 patients (22.8%). The sensitivity and specificity were 90.0% and 68.4%, respectively. The overall prediction accuracy of the N stage was 54.7%, with overstaging occurring in 89 (31.2%) and understaging in 40 patients (14.1%). The sensitivity and specificity were 71.9% and 63.2%, respectively. The CT accuracies by pathologic stage were 0%, 62.2%, 25.3%, and 81.2% for stages 0 (Tis N0), I, II, and III, respectively.


CT has good sensitivity for detecting colon cancers with tumor invasion beyond the bowel wall. However, detection of nodal involvement using CT is unreliable. In our opinion, abdominal CT alone has limitations in predicting the local staging of colorectal cancer, and additional technologies, such as CT plus positron emission tomography and/or colonography, will improve its accuracy.


Colorectal neoplasms; Computed tomography; TNM staging

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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