Neoadjuvant chemotherapy evaluation by MRI volumetry in rectal cancer followed by chemoradiation and total mesorectal excision: Initial experience

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To evaluate rectal cancer volumetry in predicting initial neoadjuvant chemotherapy response.

Materials and Methods:

Sixteen consecutive patients who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy (CX) before chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and surgery were enrolled in this retrospective study. Tumor volume was evaluated at the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), after CX and after CRT. Tumor volume regression (TVR) and downstaging were compared with histological results according to Tumor Regression Grade (TRG) to assess CX and CRT response, respectively.


The mean tumor volume was 132 cm3 ± 166 before and 56 cm3 ± 71 after CX. TVR after CX was significantly different between patients with poor histologic response (TRG1/2) and those with good histologic response (TRG3/4) (P = 0.001). An optimal cutoff of TVR >68% (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.65–0.98, P = 0.0001) to predict good histology response after CX was assessed by receiver operating characteristic curve. According to previous data and this study, we defined 70% as the best cutoff values according to sensitivity (86%), specificity (100%) of TVR for predicting good histology response. In contradistinction, MRI downstaging was associated with TRG only after CRT (P = 0.04).


Our pilot study showed that MRI volumetry can predict early histological response after CX and before CRT. MRI volumetry could help the clinician to distinguish early responders in order to aid appropriate individually tailored therapies. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;38:726–732. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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