BACKGROUND: Colonoscopic location of a tumor can influence both the surgical procedure choice and overall treatment strategy.
AIMS: To determine the accuracy of colonoscopy in determining the location of colon cancer compared to surgical localization and to elucidate factors that predict discordant colon cancer localization.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of colon cancers diagnosed on colonoscopy at two academic tertiary-care hospitals and two affiliated community hospitals from 2012 to 2014. Colon cancer location was obtained from the endoscopic and surgical pathology reports and characterized by colon segment. We collected data on patient demographics, tumor characteristics, endoscopic procedure characteristics, surgery planned, and surgery performed. Univariate analyses using Chi-squared test and multivariate analysis using forward stepwise logistic regression were performed to determine factors that predict discordant colon cancer localization.
RESULTS: There were 110 colon cancer cases identified during the study period. Inaccurate endoscopic colon cancer localization was found in 29% (32/110) of cases. These included 14 cases (12.7%) that were discordant by more than one colonic segment and three cases where the presurgical planned procedure was significantly changed at the time of surgery. On univariate analyses, right-sided colon lesions were associated with increased inaccuracy (43.8 vs 24.4%, p = 0.04). On multivariate analysis, right-sided colon lesions remained independently associated with inaccuracy (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.03-2.93, p = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Colon cancer location as determined by colonoscopy is often inaccurate, which can result in intraoperative changes to surgical management, particularly in the right colon.