Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) is effectively detects suspected and unknown complications in cancer patients which could alter their clinical management, according to a study published in the June 2019 issue of Emergency Radiology. As better diagnosis and more effective treatments are extending the lives of cancer patients, complications associated with malignancies have increased, especially when more aggressive cancer therapies are utilized.
Researchers at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, conducted a retrospective study of all patients who had a MDCT scan performed after their cancer treatments to diagnose known or suspected clinical complications. Their objectives were to evaluate the role of MDCT in determining its sensitivity and specificity in recognizing complications relating to cancer, and if findings impacted patient management.
Radiologists Anuradha Rao, MD, and Raghuram Parampalli, MD, identified 207 patients ranging in age from 4 to 77 years. The majority of complications were cardiovascular related (22%), gastrointestinal (21%), and genitourinary (18%). Approximately 5% of the patients had developed complications directly attributed to radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
MDCT detected 83% of suspected complications and 97% of complications unknown at the time of the scan which were subsequently confirmed. Specifically:
Overall, CT showed a sensitivity of 96.4%, a specificity of 67%, a positive predictive value of 98%, and a negative predictive value of 46%.
“MDCT could be used as an effective initial imaging tool routinely in these groups of patients with known malignancy when there is slightest clinical suspicion of possible complications to avoid delay in diagnosis and for better clinical outcome, the authors told Applied Radiology.