, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 1268-1271
Date: 03 Jun 2004

Impact of video colonoscopy on stage and outcome of patients with symptomatic colorectal cancer

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Abstract

Background

Double-contrast barium enema still is regarded by many as the investigation of choice for patients with large bowel symptoms. The aim of this study was to compare the stage and outcome of patients with colorectal cancer diagnosed by video colonoscopy (VC) and barium enema (BE) in a single institution.

Methods

Between July 1997 and December 2001, data were gathered prospectively in a series of 489 patients presenting consecutively with symptomatic colorectal cancer. Selection of patients for either VC or BE investigation was made by the clinician who examined the patient in the clinic. Of the 489 patients, 82 were excluded because they presented acutely or other methods were used for the diagnosis.

Results

A diagnosis of colorectal cancer was determined by VC for 292 patients and by BE for 115 patients. The patients in both groups were similar in terms of age, gender, and site of disease. Stage 1 disease (T1/2NO) was diagnosed for 87 (29.8%) patients in the VC group, as compared with 10 (8.7%) in the BE group (p < 0.0001). Early colorectal cancer (T1) was diagnosed for 43 patients in the VC group as compared to 1 patient in the BE group (p < 0.0001). During a median follow-up period of 33 months, 8.2% of the patients in the VC group had experienced recurrence after curative resection, as compared with 17.4% of the patients in the BE group p = 0.018). Freedom from disease (p = 0.02) and overall survival (p = 0.03) were significantly increased in the VC group.

Conclusions

Videocolonoscopy used as the investigation of choice for patients with large bowel symptoms detects colorectal cancer at an earlier stage and has a significant impact on the outcome for this condition.