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Body composition from single versus multi-slice abdominal computed tomography: Concordance and associations with colorectal cancer survival

Computed tomography (CT) scans are routinely obtained in oncology and provide measures of muscle and adipose tissue predictive of morbidity and mortality. Automated segmentation of CT has advanced past single slices to multi-slice measurements, but the concordance of these approaches and their associations with mortality after cancer diagnosis have not been compared. A total of 2871 patients with colorectal cancer diagnosed during 2012-2017 at Kaiser Permanente Northern California underwent abdominal CT scans as part of routine clinical care from which mid-L3 cross-sectional areas and multi-slice T12-L5 volumes of skeletal muscle (SKM), subcutaneous adipose (SAT), visceral adipose (VAT) and intermuscular adipose (IMAT) tissues were assessed using Data Analysis Facilitation Suite, an automated multi-slice segmentation platform. To facilitate comparison between single-slice and multi-slice measurements, sex-specific z-scores were calculated. Pearson correlation coefficients and Bland-Altman analysis were used to quantify agreement. Cox models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for death adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, height, and tumour site and stage. Single-slice area and multi-slice abdominal volumes were highly correlated for all tissues (SKM R = 0.92, P < 0.001; SAT R = 0.97, P < 0.001; VAT R = 0.98, P < 0.001; IMAT R = 0.89, P < 0.001). Bland-Altman plots had a bias of 0 (SE: 0.00), indicating high average agreement between measures. The limits of agreement were narrowest for VAT ( ±  0.42 SD) and SAT ( ±  0.44 SD), and widest for SKM ( ±  0.78 SD) and IMAT ( ±  0.92 SD). The HRs had overlapping CIs, and similar magnitudes and direction of effects; for example, a 1-SD increase in SKM area was associated with an 18% decreased risk of death (HR = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.72-0.92), versus 15% for volume from T12 to L5 (HR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.75-0.96). Single-slice L3 areas and multi-slice T12-L5 abdominal volumes of SKM, VAT, SAT and IMAT are highly correlated. Associations between area and volume measures with all-cause mortality were similar, suggesting that they are equivalent tools for population studies if body composition is assessed at a single timepoint. Future research should examine longitudinal changes in multi-slice tissues to improve individual risk prediction.

Authors: Anyene, Ijeamaka; Caan, Bette; Williams, Grant R; Popuri, Karteek; Lenchik, Leon; Giri, Smith; Chow, Vincent; Beg, Mirza Faisal; Cespedes Feliciano, Elizabeth M

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2022 Dec;13(6):2974-2984. Epub 2022-09-02.

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