MR imaging for preoperative evaluation of primary rectal cancer: practical considerations.
ABSTRACT High-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging plays a pivotal role in the pretreatment assessment of primary rectal cancer. The success of this technique depends on obtaining good-quality high-resolution T2-weighted images of the primary tumor; the mesorectal fascia, peritoneal reflection, and other pelvic viscera; and superior rectal and pelvic sidewall lymph nodes. Although orthogonal axial high-resolution T2-weighted MR images are the cornerstone for the staging of primary rectal cancer, high-resolution sagittal and coronal images provide additional value, particularly in tumors that arise in a redundant tortuous rectum. Coronal high-resolution T2-weighted MR images also improve the assessment of nodal morphology, particularly for superior rectal and pelvic sidewall nodes, and of the relationship between advanced-stage tumors and adjacent pelvic structures. Rectal gel should be used in MR imaging examinations conducted for the staging of polypoid tumors, previously treated lesions, and small rectal tumors. However, it should not be used in examinations performed to stage large or low rectal tumors. Diffusion-weighted imaging is useful for identifying nodes and, occasionally, the primary tumor when the tumor is difficult to visualize with other sequences. Three-dimensional T2-weighted imaging provides multiplanar capability with a superior signal-to-noise ratio compared with two-dimensional T2-weighted imaging.
- SourceAvailable from: Mukesh G Harisinghani[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to optimize treatment decisions for patients with suspected stage T2 rectal cancer on the basis of mesorectal lymph node size at magnetic resonance imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A decision-analytic model was developed to predict outcomes for patients with stage T2 rectal cancer at magnetic resonance imaging. Node-positive patients were assumed to benefit from chemoradiation prior to surgery. Imperfect magnetic resonance imaging performance for primary cancer and mesorectal nodal staging was incorporated. Five triage strategies were considered for administering preoperative chemoradiation: treat all patients; treat for any mesorectal node >3, >5, and >7 mm in size; and treat no patients. If nodal metastases or unsuspected stage T3 disease went untreated preoperatively, postoperative chemoradiation was needed, resulting in poorer outcomes. For each strategy, rates of acute and long-term chemoradiation toxicity and of 5-year local recurrence were computed. Effects of input parameter uncertainty were evaluated in sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: The optimal strategy depended on the outcome prioritized. Acute and long-term chemoradiation toxicity rates were minimized by triaging only patients with nodes >7 mm to preoperative chemoradiation (18.9% and 10.8%, respectively). A treat-all strategy minimized the 5-year local recurrence rate (5.6%). A 7-mm nodal triage threshold increased the 5-year local recurrence rate to 8.0%; when no patients were treated preoperatively, the local recurrence rate was 10.1%. With improved primary tumor staging, all outcomes could be further optimized. CONCLUSIONS: Mesorectal nodal size thresholds for preoperative chemoradiation should depend on the outcome prioritized: higher size thresholds reduce chemoradiation toxicity but increase recurrence rates. Improvements in nodal staging will have greater impact if primary tumor staging can be improved.Academic radiology 09/2012; · 2.09 Impact Factor