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Is the accuracy of preoperative MRI stage in rectal adenocarcinoma influenced by tumour height?

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posted on 2018-01-31, 12:36 authored by Laurids Østergaard Poulsen, Mette Karen Yilmaz, Lars Oddershede, Martin Bøgsted, Gitte Holt, Mikkel Eld, Ken Ljungmann, Ursula Gerda Falkmer

Aim: To our knowledge, no prior studies have addressed the possible effects of tumour height on the accuracy of preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based staging relative to postoperative histopathological assessments in patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum (RC). This study aimed to investigate whether the accuracy of preoperative MRI stage in RC is influenced by tumour height.

Methods: A total of 489 consecutive RC patients scheduled for curative treatment between 2009 and 2013 were included. Of the 489 patients, 133 patients had preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT), and 356 patients underwent primary surgery. Low, mid and high RC were defined as a tumour <5 cm, 5–10 cm and >10 cm from the anal verge, respectively. Diagnostic MRI and, for patients with CRT, re-staging MRI features including tumour T-stage (mrT), distance between the tumour border and the distance to the mesorectal fascia (mrMRF), extramural tumour depth (mrEMD), extramural vascular invasion (mrEMVI) and nodal involvement (mrN) were correlated with the corresponding postoperative histopathological findings.

Results: There were 115, 186 and 188 patients with low RC, mid RC and high RC, respectively. For all patients, the correlations between mrT and pT and between mrMRF and pCRM were not influenced by tumour height. None of the correlations between mrEMD, mrEMVI and mrN and the corresponding postoperative histopathological findings significantly differed for tumours of different heights. For patients with CRT, a remarkable proportion with low RC were overstaged as ymrT3 compared to ypT0-2.

Conclusions: The ability to preoperatively use MRI to accurately stage is not influenced by tumour height. For patients with preoperative CRT, low RC may be MRI overstaged due to post-radiation fibrosis. We found that mrEMD predicts pEMD reliably and should therefore be considered in treatment decisions. Although new MRI techniques are emerging, preoperative RC staging remains incompletely definitive in daily clinical practice.