The definition of rectal cancer based on the sigmoid take-off (STO) was incorporated into the Dutch guideline in 2019, and became mandatory in the national audit from December 2020. This study aimed to evaluate the use of the STO in clinical practice and the added value of online training, stratified for the period before (group A, historical cohort) and after (group B, current cohort) incorporation into the national audit.
Participants, including radiologists, surgeons, surgical and radiological residents, interns, PhD students, and physician assistants, were asked to complete an online training program, consisting of questionnaires, 20 MRI cases, and a training document. Outcomes were agreement with the expert reference, inter-rater variability, and accuracy before and after the training.
The results of this study show that after the inclusion of the STO in the mandatory Dutch national audit, the STO was consequently used in only 67% of the represented hospitals. Online training has the potential to improve implementation and unambiguous assessment.
Group A consisted of 86 participants and group B consisted of 114 participants. Familiarity with the STO was higher in group B (76% vs 88%, p = 0.027). Its use in multidisciplinary meetings was not significantly higher (50% vs 67%, p = 0.237). Agreement with the expert reference was similar for both groups before (79% vs 80%, p = 0.423) and after the training (87% vs 87%, p = 0.848). Training resulted in significant improvement for both groups in classifying tumors located around the STO (group A, 69-79%; group B, 67-79%, p < 0.001).