Locoregional CT staging of colon cancer: does a learning curve exist?

E.K. Hong*, F. Castagnoli, N. Gennaro, F. Landolfi, C. Perez-Serrano, I. Kurilova, S. Roberti, R. Beets-Tan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose To evaluate the learning curve for locoreginal staging of colon cancer in radiologist trainees. Methods Eighty-eight cases of colon cancer CT were included in this retrospective study. Four senior radiology residents staged the CTs according to TNM classification. Two out of four radiologists received feedback after reading every 20 cases. Radiologic staging was compared with pathologic staging and the learning curve, diagnostic performance, reader confidence and reading time were evaluated and compared between the two groups (feedback vs. no feedback). Generalized estimating equations logistic regression, QICu statistic, ANOVA andttest/Mann-Whitney test were utilized. Results Radiologists demonstrated a significant increase in their performance to distinguish between <= T2 and >= T3 and reached an inflection point at 38 cases, with a significant association with increased number of cases reviewed (P < 0.001). Sensitivity (P < 0.001), specificity (P = 0.030) and NPV (P = 0.002) demonstrated significant associations with increased experience. The overall reader's confidence was significantly higher in the group which received feedback (P < 0.001). There was no significant improvement in performance nor in reader's confidence for N staging (N0 vs. >= N1) for all readers. Reading time decreased with experience and showed a significant negative association with experience (P < 0.001). Conclusion Diagnostic performance of senior radiology trainees in differentiating between T2 and T3 colon cancer on CTs improved with increased experience. In contrast, evaluation of lymph node involvement did not improve with more experience. Feedback had no significant effect on improvement of diagnostic performances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • accuracy
  • chemotherapy
  • colon cancer
  • computed tomography
  • learning curve
  • staging
  • Colon cancer
  • Learning curve
  • Computed tomography
  • Staging

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