Multicenter evaluation of rectal cancer reimaging post neoadjuvant (MERRION) therapy

Ann M. Hanly, Elizabeth M. Ryan, Ailín C. Rogers, Deborah A. McNamara, Robert D. Madoff, Desmond C. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of reimaging rectal cancer post-CRT (chemoradiotherapy) with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the pelvis for local staging and computed tomography of thorax, abdomen, and pelvis (CT TAP) to identify distant metastases. BACKGROUND:: The success of neoadjuvant CRT for locally advanced rectal cancer has changed an already complex management algorithm. There is no consensus whether patients should be restaged before surgery. METHODS:: Data from 5 institutions with prospectively maintained databases including patients who received neoadjuvant CRT for locally advanced rectal cancer were acquired. Only patients who had been staged pre- and post-CRT with MR imaging and CT TAP were included. MR findings were correlated with histopathological stage using weighted κ (kappa) statistics to test agreement, where a κ value of less than 0.5 was deemed unacceptable. RESULTS:: A total of 285 patients fulfilled the criteria for the study; 84% had American Joint Committee for Cancer stage 3 disease pre-CRT, and the remainder had stage 2 disease. Fourteen patients did not proceed to surgery post-CRT - 2 were observed as "complete responders," and the remainder either had unresectable disease or were unfit for surgery. MR imaging could not predict T stage (κ = 0.212) or nodal involvement (κ = 0.336). Most pertinently, MR imaging was unable to detect a complete pathological response (κ = 0.021), nor could it discriminate T4 disease (κ = 0.445). CT TAP restaging altered management in 6.7% of patients, who had metastatic disease. CONCLUSIONS:: MR reimaging using standard protocols is of limited value in determining surgical approaches; a better modality of local restaging is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-727
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Magnetic resonance
  • multicenter study
  • neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy
  • rectal cancer


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