The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of CT parameters to predict the presence of KRAS mutations in rectal cancer patients. The relationship between the presence of a KRAS mutation and pathological findings was evaluated simultaneously.
Eighty-nine patients (29 females, 60 males, age 27-90, mean 59.7±12 years) with pathologically proven rectal cancer were enrolled. A KRAS mutation test was completed following surgery. Parameters evaluated on CT included the tumor location, the diameter of the superior rectal vein (SRV) and inferior mesenteric vein (IMV), the presence of calcification, ulceration, lymph node enlargement (LNE), distant metastasis, tumor shape (intraluminal polypoid mass, infiltrative mass, or bulky), circumferential extent (C0-C1/4, C1/4-C1/2, C1/2-C3/4, or C3/4-C1), enhanced pattern (homogeneous or heterogeneous), CT ratio, and the length of the tumor (LOT). Pathological findings included lymphovascular emboli, signet ring cell, peripheral fat interval infiltration, focal ulcer, lymph node metastasis, tumor pathological type, and differentiation extent. The correlations between KRAS status and CT parameters, and KRAS status and pathological findings were investigated. The accuracy of CT characteristics for predicting KRAS mutation was evaluated.
A KRAS mutation was detected in 42 cases. On CT image, the diameter of the SRV was significantly increased in the KRAS mutation group compared to in the KRAS wild-type group (4.6±0.9 mm vs 4.2±0.9 mm, p=0.02), and LNE was more likely to occur in the KRAS mutation group (73.3% vs 26.7%, p=0.03). There was no significant difference between the KRAS mutation group and the KRAS wild-type group on the other CT parameters (location, IMV, calcification, ulcer, distant metastasis, tumor shape, enhanced pattern, circumferential extent, CT ratio, and LOT). In the pathological findings, a KRAS mutation was more likely to occur in the middle differentiation group (p=0.03). No significant difference was found between the KRAS mutation group and the KRAS wild-type group in the presence of lymphovascular emboli, signet ring cell, peripheral fat interval infiltration, focal ulcer, lymph node metastasis, and tumor pathological type. With the best cut-off value of 4.07 mm, the AUC of the SRV to predict a KRAS mutation was 0.63 with a sensitivity of 76.2% and a specificity of 48.9%.
It was feasible to use the diameter of the SRV to predict a KRAS mutation in rectal cancer patients, and LNE also can be regarded as an important clue on preoperative CT images.