Evolutions in rectal cancer MRI staging and risk stratification in The Netherlands.



Retrospective analysis of 712 patients (2011-2018) from 8 teaching hospitals in The Netherlands with available original radiological staging reports that were re-evaluated by a dedicated MR expert using updated guideline criteria. Original reports were classified as "free-text," "semi-structured," or "template" and completeness of reporting was documented. Patients were categorized as low versus high risk, first based on the original reports (high risk = cT3-4, cN+, and/or cMRF+) and then based on the expert re-evaluations (high risk = cT3cd-4, cN+, MRF+, and/or EMVI+). Evolutions over time were studied by splitting the inclusion period in 3 equal time periods.


Updated concepts of risk stratification have increasingly been adopted, accompanied by an increase in template reporting and improved completeness of reporting. Use of updated guideline criteria resulted in considerable downstaging (of mainly high-risk cT-stage and nodal stage).


To analyze how the MRI reporting of rectal cancer has evolved (following guideline updates) in The Netherlands.


A significant increase in template reporting was observed (from 1.6 to 17.6-29.6%; p < 0.001), along with a significant increase in the reporting of cT-substage, number of N+ and extramesorectal nodes, MRF invasion and tumor-MRF distance, EMVI, anal sphincter involvement, and tumor morphology and circumference. Expert re-evaluation changed the risk classification from high to low risk in 18.0% of cases and from low to high risk in 1.7% (total 19.7%). In the majority (17.9%) of these cases, the changed risk classification was likely (at least in part) related to use of updated guideline criteria, which mainly led to a reduction in high-risk cT-stage and nodal downstaging.

More about this publication

Abdominal radiology (New York)
  • Volume 47
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 38-47
  • Publication date 01-01-2022

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