Rectal Cancer: Assessment of Response to Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation by Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MRI

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To assess pretreatment functional and morphological tumor characteristics with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in advanced rectal carcinoma and to identify factors predicting response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation.

Materials and Methods

In a prospective study, 95 patients with rectal carcinoma underwent dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI before and after chemoradiation. Quantitative parameters were derived from a pharmacokinetic two-compartment model. Tumors were also characterized with regard to mucinous status at pretreatment high-resolution MRI as nonmucinous or mucinous. Response to treatment was defined as a downshift in the local tumor stage.


The parameter k21 (contrast medium exchange rate) was higher at pretreatment MRI in nonmucinous compared with mucinous carcinomas (P < 0.001). The effect of chemoradiation on dynamic MR parameters was higher in nonmucinous carcinomas than in the mucinous subtype (P < 0.001). A higher rate of response to treatment was linked with nonmucinous morphology (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed an association between mucinous tumor morphology and poor response (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 0.113 [0.032–0.395], P < 0.001) as well as an association between a high 75th percentile of k21 and a higher response rate (odds ratio: 1.043 [1.001–1.086], P = 0.019).


Functional and morphological parameters of pretreatment MRI can assess tumor characteristics associated with the effectiveness of chemoradiation before treatment initiation. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;38:119–126. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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