The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance recently participated in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joint meeting of the Gastroenterology-Urology Panel and Radiological Devices Panel on computed tomography (CT) colonography. 

The joint panel was convened to discuss the benefits and risks of the imaging technology, also known as virtual colonoscopy, for asymptomatic colorectal cancer patients.  

“An abundance of evidence confirms that CT colonography is a valuable diagnostic tool, particularly for patients who are resistant to customary, optical colonoscopy and would otherwise avoid a diagnostic procedure,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA. “Expanding access to this technology will allow for earlier detection and treatment of this disease and turn more colon cancer patients into survivors.”

Several national studies have demonstrated the value of CT colonography as an effective tool to detect colorectal cancer in Medicare-eligible beneficiaries. According to a February 2012 American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) paper published in Radiology, CT colonography is comparable to optical colonography for Americans ages 65 years and older. These findings are consistent with data from the 2008 ACRIN trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing the test’s accuracy for the broader 50 years of age and older population.

Currently, CIGNA, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and other private insurers cover the procedure, and it has also been endorsed by the American Cancer Society.