Whole-body MRI with diffusion-weighted imaging as an adjunct to<sup>18</sup> F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and CT in patients with suspected recurrent colorectal cancer.



This explorative study suggests that DW-MRI may be of added value to patients with a clinical suspicion for recurrent CRC, in particular to identify patients with peritoneal metastases. DW-MRI mainly has potential as a 'problem-solver' in patients with inconclusive or negative findings on previous imaging (in particular CT) and to detect additional disease sites in patients already diagnosed with recurrent disease.


This was an exploratory retrospective analysis of 55 patients with a clinical suspicion of recurrent CRC who underwent DW-MRI following CT and/or FDG-PET/CT. Two readers in consensus interpreted all clinical imaging reports and converted each described lesion into a confidence score (1 = definitely benign to 5 = definitely malignant). DW-MRI findings were compared to the most recent previous CT or PET/CT. Any discrepant or additional DW-MRI findings were documented and compared with histology and/or clinical follow-up (if available).


The aim was to explore how findings of whole-body MRI including diffusion-weighted imaging (DW-MRI) compared to the routine diagnostic workup with CT and/or 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT in patients with suspected recurrent colorectal cancer (CRC).


Whole-body MRI including diffusion-weighted imaging (DW-MRI) resulted in discrepant/additional findings in 26/55 (47%) cases; 23/37 (62%) compared to previous CT and 3/18 (17%) compared to previous PET/CT. These included 10 cases where DW-MRI converted previously inconclusive CT (n = 8) or PET/CT (n = 2) findings into a conclusive diagnosis, one where it contradicted a previous CT diagnosis of recurrence, five where DW-MRI diagnosed recurrent disease not previously reported on CT and 10 cases where DW-MRI detected additional lesions compared to CT (n = 9) or PET/CT (n = 1). Eighty-eight per cent of cases with discrepant/additional findings concerned patients with recurrent/metachronous peritoneal metastases. In total, DW-MRI resulted in 42 discrepant/additional lesions; the DW-MRI diagnosis was correct in 76% of these lesions and incorrect (false positive) in 7%. In the remaining 17%, no standard of reference was available.

More about this publication

Colorectal disease : the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Volume 26
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 290-299
  • Publication date 01-02-2024

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