Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 2790–2799 | Cite as

MRI-Based Indications for Neoadjuvant Radiochemotherapy in Rectal Carcinoma: Interim Results of a Prospective Multicenter Observational Study

  • Joachim Strassburg
  • Reinhard Ruppert
  • Henry Ptok
  • Christoph Maurer
  • Theodor JungingerEmail author
  • Susanne Merkel
  • Paul Hermanek
Colorectal Cancer



This study evaluated use of circumferential resection margin status in preoperative MRI (mrCRM) as an indication for neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (nRCT) in rectal carcinoma patients.

Materials and Methods

In a multicenter prospective study, nRCT was given to patients with carcinoma of the middle rectum with positive mrCRM (≤1 mm), with cT3 low rectal carcinoma, and all patients with cT4 tumors. The short-term endpoints were pathologic pCRM (≤1 mm) as a strong predictor of local recurrence rate and the quality of total mesorectal excision according to the plane of surgery. These endpoints were compared in patients with and without nRCT.


Of 230 patients that met the inclusion criteria, 96 (41.7%) received a long course of nRCT and 134 (58.3%) were primarily operated on. The pCRM was positive in 13 of 230 (5.7%) (primarily operated on, 2 of 134 [1.5%]; after nRCT, 11 of 96 [11%]). In 1 of 134 (0.7%) case, the mrCRM was falsely negative. Patients at participating centers varied in terms of preoperative stage but not in pCRM positivity (0%–13%, P = .340). The plane of surgery was mesorectal (good) in 209 of 230 (90.9%), intramesorectal (moderate) in 16 of 230 (7%), and the muscularis propria plane (poor) in 2.2% (5 of 230).


Low pCRM positivity and the high quality of mesorectal excision support use of MRI-based nRCT in rectal carcinoma. nRCT was avoidable in 45% of patients with stage II and III disease without significant risk of undertreatment. Preoperative MRI thus allows identification of patients with high risk of local recurrence and use of selective nRCT.


Local Recurrence Total Mesorectal Excision Rectal Carcinoma Prospective Multicenter Observational Study Partial Mesorectal Excision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Strassburg
    • 1
  • Reinhard Ruppert
    • 2
  • Henry Ptok
    • 3
  • Christoph Maurer
    • 4
  • Theodor Junginger
    • 5
    Email author
  • Susanne Merkel
    • 6
  • Paul Hermanek
    • 6
  1. 1.General and Visceral SurgeryVivantes Klinikum im FriedrichshainBerlinGermany
  2. 2.General and Visceral Surgery, Endocrine Surgery, and ColoproctologyThe Municipal Hospital of Munich-NeuperlachMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryCarl-Thiem-KlinikCottbusGermany
  4. 4.Department of General, Visceral, and Transplantation SurgeryKantonsspitalLiestalSwitzerland
  5. 5.General and Abdominal SurgeryUniversity HospitalMainzGermany
  6. 6.SurgeryUniversity HospitalErlangenGermany

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