February 07, 2019

ACR Touts CT Colonography in Comments for Draft USPSTF Research Plan

The American College of Radiology (ACR) extolls the clinical merits of CT colonography (CTC) in its comment letter to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)'s draft research plan for an upcoming five-year review of its recommendations for colorectal cancer screening.

The ACR’s letter was developed by the College’s Colon Cancer Committee and transmitted to the task force on January 30, 2019. It highlights recent literature that supports CTC as an effective tool for colorectal cancer screening. Studies have shown CTC increases colorectal cancer screening rates, particularly in minority populations, when it’s a readily available screening option.

The current USPSTF recommendations give an “A” rating to colorectal cancer screening for adults ages 50-75. CTC is listed as one of the available screening options. The new USPSTF review will consider the benefits and risks of screening beginning at 40.

The 2018 American Cancer Society guideline for colorectal cancer screening recommends average-risk adults undergo regular screening beginning at age 45.

As an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), USPSTF is an independent body established by the federal government to evaluate preventive health services. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires private health insurers to provide, without patient cost-sharing, all preventive services that earn grades of A or B in USPSTF recommendations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has yet to grant reimbursement for Medicare beneficiaries who choose for screening CTC in lieu of conventional screening colonography despite the USPSTF’s previous positive recommendation.

For questions, please contact Kathryn Keysor, ACR senior director of economics and health policy at kkeysor@acr.org.