Diagnostic Accuracy of CT for Local Staging of Colon Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Elias Nerad*, Max J. Lahaye, Monique Maas, Patricia Nelemans, Frans C. H. Bakers, Geerard L. Beets, Regina G. H. Beets-Tan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this article is to determine the accuracy of CT in the detection of tumor invasion beyond the bowel wall and nodal involvement of colon carcinomas. A literature search was performed to identify studies describing the accuracy of CT in the staging of colon carcinomas. Studies including rectal carcinomas that were inseparable from colon carcinomas were excluded. Publication bias was explored by using a Deeks funnel plot asymmetry test. A hierarchic summary ROC model was used to construct a summary ROC curve and to calculate summary estimates of sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic odds ratios (ORs). CONCLUSION. On the basis of a total of 13 studies, pooled sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic ORs for detection of tumor invasion beyond the bowel wall (T3-T4) were 90% (95% CI, 83-95%), 69% (95% CI, 62-75%), and 20.6 (95% CI, 10.2-41.5), respectively. For detection of tumor invasion depth of 5 mm or greater (T3cd-T4), estimates from four studies were 77% (95% CI, 66-85%), 70% (95% CI, 53-83%), and 7.8 (95% CI, 4.2-14.2), respectively. For nodal involvement (N+), 16 studies were included with values of 71% (95% CI, 5981%), 67% (95% CI, 46-83%), and 4.8 (95% CI, 2.5-9.4), respectively. Two studies using CT colonography were included with sensitivity and specificity of 97% (95% CI, 90-99%) and 81% (95% CI, 65-91%), respectively, for detecting T3-T4 tumors. CT has good sensitivity for the detection of T3-T4 tumors, and evidence suggests that CT colonography increases its accuracy. Discriminating between T1-T3ab and T3cd-T4 cancer is challenging, but data were limited. CT has a low accuracy in detecting nodal involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-995
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • colonic neoplasms
  • CT
  • meta-analysis
  • neoplasm staging
  • x-ray


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