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MRI features of the complete histopathological response of locally advanced rectal cancer to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy

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Published:25th Mar 2020
Aim: To describe the post-chemoradiotherapy magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of locally advanced rectal carcinoma (LARC) in which there has been a complete histopathological response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Materials and methods: This retrospective cohort study was performed between January 2005 and November 2009 at a regional cancer centre. Consecutive patients with LARC and a histopathological complete response to long-course CRT were identified. Pre- and post-treatment MRI images were reviewed using a proforma for predefined features and response criteria. ymrT0 was defined as the absence of residual abnormality on MRI. Results: Twenty patients were included in the study. Seven (35%) ypT0 tumours were ymrT0. All 13 ypT0 tumours not achieving ymrT0 appearances had a good radiological response, with at least 65% tumour reduction. The appearances were heterogeneous: in 11/13 patients the tumour was replaced by a region of at least 50% low signal on MRI, with 8/13 having ?80% low signal, and 3/13 with 100% low signal. Conclusion: MRI may be useful in identifying a complete histopathological response. However, the MRI appearances of ypT0 tumours are heterogeneous and conventional MRI complete response criteria will not detect the majority of patients with a complete histopathological response.

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