MDCT shows promise in detecting urinary tract cancers

May 08, 2003

Multidetector CT is faster and much more accurate than excretory urography in detecting urinary tract cancers and other urinary tract diseases, a new study suggests.

The study reviewed 370 patients who had been referred for a radiologic examination because they had symptoms or a history of genitourinary disease, says Elaine Caoili, MD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and lead author of the study. Multidetector CT (MDCT) correctly identified 66 out of 71 total cancers (including 24 of 27 cancers in the upper tracts) found after these patients underwent additional tests and surgery, she says. Some of the detected cancers were very small, measuring less than 5 mm in diameter, suggesting they were found early, she says. This 93% detection rate compares to a detection rate of about 60-75% by excretory urography, Dr. Caoili adds.

MDCT was also able to accurately show a wide range of other urinary tract problems, including abnormalities in the kidney, bladder, and the ureter, says Dr. Caoili. Excretory urography cannot show kidney masses and kidney stones very well, she adds. MDCT doesn't have those same limitations, she says.

In addition, MDCT is much more comfortable and less time-consuming for the patient, because the patient doesn't have to go through the bowel cleansing process usually used prior to excretory urography, Dr. Caoili says.

"Excretory urography has been used for decades as the study of choice for detecting urinary tract abnormalities, but MDCT represents a very promising improvement in imaging of patients in whom these abnormalities are suspected," Dr. Caoili says.
Dr. Caoili will present her study on May 8 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Contact: Keri J. Sperry (703) 858-4306
Danica Laub (703) 858-4332
Press Room: (619) 525-6536 (May 5-8)

American College of Radiology

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