Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of whole-body MRI (WB-MRI) including contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) and WB-DWI in rectal cancer initial staging. Methods: This retrospective study was approved by the IRB and the requirement of informed consent was waived. From September 2013 to Feb 2015, patients who underwent rectal MRI including WB-MRI, as well as chest and abdominopelvic CT for initial staging, were included. WB-MRI consisted of contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging and DWI covering neck to the pelvis. Three radiologists reviewed WB-MRI and CECT independently for the M-classification. The diagnostic performance of CECT and WB-MRI was compared using a reference standard incorporating histology, FDG-PET results, and clinical follow-up. Results: A total of 139 patients (male:female = 89:50, mean age 63.2 ± 12.4 years) were included and metastasis was observed in 15.2% (21/139). WB-MRI showed significantly higher specificity (96.7% [114/118] vs. 85.6% [101/118], p = 0.001) and positive predictive value (PPV) (80% [16/20] vs. 48.5% [16/33], p < 0.001) than CECT. However, there were no significant differences in sensitivity (76.2% [16/21] for both, p > 0.99) and negative predictive value (95.3% [101/106] at CECT vs. 95.8% [114/119] at WB-MRI, p = 0.77) between CECT and WB-MRI. Conclusions: WB-MRI showed higher specificity and PPV than CECT in newly diagnosed rectal cancer. Adding WB-MRI to standard rectal MRI is a feasible option for initial staging workup of rectal cancer. Key Points: • WB-MRI showed a higher specificity and PPV than those of CECT for identifying metastasis at initial staging workup of rectal cancer. • WB-MRI and CECT did not show a significant difference in sensitivity and NPV for the M-classification. • WB-MRI can be used as an alternative to CECT for the initial M-classification modality in newly diagnosed rectal cancer.
- Diagnostic imaging
- Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Rectal neoplasm
- Tomography, spiral computed