Pelvic CT in addition to MRI to differentiate between rectal and sigmoid cancer on imaging using the sigmoid take-off as a landmark.



Availability of a consistent axial imaging plane - in the case of this study provided by CT - in addition to a standard MRI protocol with sagittal and oblique-axial imaging views can be helpful to more confidently localize tumors using the STO as a landmark, especially for more junior readers.


The sigmoid take-off (STO) is a recently established landmark to discern rectal from sigmoid cancer on imaging. STO-assessment can be challenging on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to varying axial planes.


A senior and junior radiologist retrospectively classified 40 patients with rectal/rectosigmoid cancers using the STO, first on MRI-only (sagittal and oblique-axial views) and then using a combination of MRI and axial CT. Tumors were classified as rectal/rectosigmoid/sigmoid (according to published STO definitions) and then dichotomized into rectal versus sigmoid. Diagnostic confidence was documented using a 5-point scale.


To establish the benefit of using computed tomography (CT; with consistent axial planes), in addition to MRI, to anatomically classify rectal versus sigmoid cancer using the STO.


Adding CT resulted in a change in anatomical tumor classification in 4/40 cases (10%) for the junior reader and in 6/40 cases (15%) for the senior reader. Diagnostic confidence increased significantly after adding CT for the junior reader (mean score 3.85 vs. 4.27; P < 0.001); confidence of the senior reader was not affected (4.28 vs. 4.25; P = 0.80). Inter-observer agreement was similarly good for MRI only (κ=0.77) and MRI + CT (κ=0.76). Readers reached consensus on the classification of rectal versus sigmoid cancer in 78%-85% of cases.

More about this publication

Acta radiologica (Stockholm, Sweden : 1987)
  • Volume 64
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 467-472
  • Publication date 01-02-2023

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