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The role of MRI in the pre‐operative staging of rectal cancer

Published Online:


Pre‐operative local staging in patients with rectal cancer can be used to:

  • Assign the most appropriate pre‐operative adjuvant therapy;
  • Assist in surgical planning;
  • Serve as an accurate baseline from which to compare the success of different treatment strategies.

In image interpretation, the following prognostic information should be sought:

  • Tumour T stage;
  • The depth of extramural spread of tumour (depth beyond outer muscle wall);
  • The relationship of the tumour to the peritoneal reflection;
  • The relationship of the tumour to the anal sphincter complex;
  • The distance from the outermost edge of the tumour to the mesorectal fascia;
  • The presence and location of mesorectal deposits;
  • The presence of other prognostic factors, such as extramural venous invasion and peritoneal invasion.

Volume 12, Issue 2June 2000
Pages: 97VI-165

© 2000 The British Institute of Radiology


  • Published onlineJanuary 28,2014