Author(s): Evans J, Patel U, Brown G
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Abstract Rectal cancer staging is based on 2 principles. The first is an anatomic definition of the tumor allowing for surgical planning. The second is prognostic stage grouping. A given prognostic stage carries different risks of both local and distant recurrence, a selective and tailored approach to preoperative therapy is appropriate. Increasingly, selective approaches enable an overall reduction in morbidity from overtreatment, while allowing aggressive treatment of high-risk patients. Therefore, the aim of preoperative staging is to accurately and reproducibly differentiate between good and poor prognosis tumors. In the preoperative setting, superficial and flat rectal cancers are probably best initially staged using endoscopic ultrasound, and where available magnetic resonance imaging is used for all other rectal cancers because of its proven high sensitivity and specificity in identifying poor-risk patients based on circumferential margin status, the depth of extramural spread, extramural venous invasion, and nodal status. Restaging after neoadjuvant therapy is a challenge to all modalities because of radiation-induced changes, namely fibrosis, edema, inflammation, and necrosis. However, emerging data suggest that reassessment using a combination of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging, and positron emission tomography/computed tomography scanning may help to provide valuable prognostic information before definitive surgery. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Semin Radiat Oncol
and referenced in Atherosclerosis: Open Access