Publication Details

Pham, T. T., Liney, G. P., Wong, K. & Barton, M. B. (2017). Functional MRI for quantitative treatment response prediction in locally advanced rectal cancer. British Journal of Radiology, 90 (1072), 20151078-1-20151078-14.


Despite advances in multimodality treatment strategies for locally advanced rectal cancer and improvements in locoregional control, there is still a considerable variation in response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Accurate prediction of response to neoadjuvant CRT would enable early stratification of management according to good responders and poor responders, in order to adapt treatment to improve therapeutic outcomes in rectal cancer. Clinical studies in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI have shown promising results for the prediction of therapeutic response in rectal cancer. DWI allows for assessment of tumour cellularity. DCE-MRI enables evaluation of factors of the tumour microvascular environment and changes in perfusion in response to treatment. Studies have demonstrated that predictors of good response to CRT include lower tumour pre-CRT apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), greater percentage increase in ADC during and post CRT, and higher pre-CRT Ktrans. However, the mean ADC and Ktrans values do not adequately reflect tumour heterogeneity. Multiparametric MRI using quantitative DWI and DCE-MRI in combination, and a histogram analysis technique can assess tumour heterogeneity and its response to treatment. This strategy has the potential to improve the accuracy of therapeutic response prediction in rectal cancer and warrants further investigation.



Link to publisher version (DOI)