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Medical News & Perspectives
March 1, 2000

Ultrasound Detects Occult Colorectal Tumors

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JAMA. 2000;283(9):1129-1130. doi:10.1001/jama.283.9.1129-JMN0301-3-1

Glasgow, Scotland—Researchers at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary have developed a method of using Doppler ultrasonography to help identify patients with colorectal cancer in whom the disease might recur despite apparently curative resection of the tumor.

According to Edward Leen, MD, and colleagues, there is as yet no established method of accurately identifying such patients.

"Approximately 50% of patients who undergo an apparently curative resection for colorectal cancer die within 5 years, the majority with liver metastases," said Wilson J. Angerson, PhD. "Most patients with a poor outcome harbour occult liver metastases at the time of presentation, that is, tumors not detected by the surgeon at laparotomy or by conventional preoperative imaging. A reliable method of identifying these patients would provide a rational basis for the selective administration of adjuvant therapy."