Microcomputed tomography colonography for polyp detection in an in vivo mouse tumor model

Perry J. Pickhardt, Richard B. Halberg, Andrew J. Taylor, Ben Y. Durkee, Jason Fine, Fred T. Lee, Jamey P. Weichert

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38 Scopus citations


This study was initiated to evaluate the efficacy of negative contrast-enhanced microcomputed tomography (microCT) colonography for the noninvasive detection of colonic tumors in living mice. After colonic preparation, 20 anesthetized congenic mice were scanned with high-resolution microCT. Images were displayed by using commercial visualization software and interpreted by two gastrointestinal radiologists, who were unaware of tumor prevalence and findings at gross pathology. Two-dimensional multiplanar images were assessed by using a five-point scale to distinguish colonic tumors (polyps) from fecal pellets (5 = definitely a tumor, 4 = probably a tumor, 3 = indeterminate, 2 = probably not a tumor, 1 = definitely not a tumor). Gross pathologic evaluation of excised mouse colons served as the reference standard. Data analysis included dichotomizing results, with 1-2 indicating no tumor and 3-5 indicating tumor and also receiver operator characteristic curve analysis with area under the curve for threshold-independent assessment. A total of 41 colonic polyps in 18 of the 20 mice were identified at gross examination on necropsy, of which 30 measured 2-5 mm and 11 measured <2 mm in size. The pooled per-polyp sensitivity for lesions >2 mm was 93.3% (56/60). The pooled per-mouse sensitivity for polyps >2 mm was 97.1% (33/34). Pooled specificity for distinguishing fecal pellets from tumor was 98.5% (65/66). The combined area under the curve from receiver operator characteristic curve analysis was 0.810 ± 0.038 (95% confidence interval, 0.730-0.890). These findings indicate that accurate noninvasive longitudinal monitoring of colon tumor progression or response to various therapies is now technically feasible in live mice by using this microCT colonography method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3419-3422
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Colonic neoplasm


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