Colonic polyps: inheritance, susceptibility, risk evaluation, and diagnostic management
Emanuele Neri, Lorenzo Faggioni, Lorenzo Cini, Carlo Bartolozzi
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third-ranked neoplasm in order of incidence and mortality, worldwide, and the second cause of cancer death in industrialized countries. One of the most important environmental risk factors for CRC is a Western-type diet, which is characterized by a low-fiber and high-fat content. Up to 25% of patients with CRC have a family history for CRC, and a fraction of these patients are affected by hereditary syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner or Turcot syndromes, or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. The onset of CRC is triggered by a well-defined combination of genetic alterations, which form the bases of the adenoma-carcinoma sequence hypothesis and justify the set-up of CRC screening techniques. Several screening and diagnostic tests for CRC are illustrated, including rectosigmoidoscopy, optical colonoscopy (OC), double contrast barium enema (DCBE), and computed tomography colonography (CTC). The strengths and weaknesses of each technique are discussed. Particular attention is paid to CTC, which has evolved from an experimental technique to an accurate and mature diagnostic approach, and gained wide acceptance and clinical validation for CRC screening. This success of CTC is due mainly to its ability to provide cross-sectional analytical images of the entire colon and secondarily detect extracolonic findings, with minimal invasiveness and lower cost than OC, and with greater detail and diagnostic accuracy than DCBE. Moreover, especially with the advent and widespread availability of modern multidetector CT scanners, excellent quality 2D and 3D reconstructions of the large bowel can be obtained routinely with a relatively low radiation dose. Computer-aided detection systems have also been developed to assist radiologists in reading CTC examinations, improving overall diagnostic accuracy and potentially speeding up the clinical workflow of CTC image interpretation.
Keywords: colonic polyps, colorectal cancer, colonoscopy, double contrast barium enema, computed tomography colonography
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