Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A study comparing MRI scan with CT scan in bowel cancer
This study compared MRI scans and CT scans in bowel cancer to see which was more accurate in helping doctors see how far a cancer had spread.
More about this trial
Doctors often use CT scans to check if bowel cancer has spread. MRI scans are much better at showing the slight differences between body tissues. But in the past MRI scans have been slow and the images have not been the best when looking at bowel cancer.
The Royal Marsden Hospital has a more powerful MRI scan that can provide a much better picture of the bowel. The researchers compared the images from this more powerful MRI scan with images from a CT scan.
The aim of this study was to find out if the new MRI scan was better than a CT scan in helping doctors to see if bowel cancer had spread.
Summary of results
The study team found that the images from the MRI scan and CT scan were similar.
Of the 55 people who took part in this study:
- 2 people had a CT scan and 1 MRI scan before surgery
- 53 people had a CT scan and 2 MRI scans before surgery
2 doctors who specialise in reading scans (radiologists) looked at the scans of each person separately. Overall for both radiologists there was no significant difference between the CT scan or MRI scans in being able to see how far the cancer had spread.
The team doesn’t recommend that MRI scan is used instead of CT scan. But an MRI scan might be useful alongside a CT scan in certain situations. For example when a patient can’t have the
We have based this summary on information from the research team. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Gina Brown
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
The Bowel Disease Research Foundation