Rectal cancer: Assessment of response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI


  • K. Oberholzer
  • M. Menig
  • A. Pohlmann
  • T. Junginger
  • A. Heintz
  • A. Kreft
  • T. Hansen
  • A. Schneider
  • A. Lollert
  • H. Schmidberger
  • D. Christoph


  • Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging


  • J Magn Reson Imaging 38 (1): 119-126


  • PURPOSE: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSION: Functional and morphological parameters of pretreatment MRI can assess tumor characteristics associated with the effectiveness of chemoradiation before treatment initiation.