T2-weighted signal intensity-selected volumetry for prediction of pathological complete response after preoperative chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer
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To evaluate the diagnostic value of signal intensity (SI)-selected volumetry findings in T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a potential biomarker for predicting pathological complete response (pCR) to preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in patients with rectal cancer.
Forty consecutive patients with pCR after preoperative CRT were compared with 80 age- and sex-matched non-pCR patients in a case-control study. SI-selected tumor volume was measured on post-CRT T2-weighted MRI, which included voxels of the treated tumor exceeding the SI (obturator internus muscle SI + [ischiorectal fossa fat SI – obturator internus muscle SI] × 0.2). Three blinded readers independently rated five-point pCR confidence scores and compared the diagnostic outcome with SI-selected volumetry findings. The SI-selected volumetry protocol was validated in 30 additional rectal cancer patients.
The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) of SI-selected volumetry for pCR prediction was 0.831, with an optimal cutoff value of 649.6 mm3 (sensitivity 0.850, specificity 0.725). The AUC of the SI-selected tumor volume was significantly greater than the pooled AUC of readers (0.707, p < 0.001). At this cutoff, the validation trial yielded an accuracy of 0.87.
SI-selected volumetry in post-CRT T2-weighted MRI can help predict pCR after preoperative CRT in patients with rectal cancer.
• Fibrosis and viable tumor MRI signal intensities (SIs) are difficult to distinguish.
• T2 SI-selected volumetry yields high diagnostic performance for assessing pathological complete response.
• T2 SI-selected volumetry is significantly more accurate than readers and non-SI-selected volumetry.
• Post-chemoradiation therapy T2-weighted MRI SI-selected volumetry facilitates prediction of pathological complete response.
KeywordsDrug therapy Magnetic resonance imaging Rectal neoplasms Neoadjuvant therapy Tumor burden
The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve
Magnetic resonance imaging
Tumor regression grade on MRI
Pathological complete response
Pathological good response
Region of interest
Signal intensity category
Total mesorectal excision
Tumor regression grade
The authors state that this work has not received any funding.
Compliance with ethical standards
The scientific guarantor of this publication is Joon Seok Lim, MD, PhD.
Conflict of interest
The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.
Statistics and biometry
One of the authors has significant statistical expertise (Kyunghwa Han, PhD).
Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.
Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.
• case-control study
• performed at one institution