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A Practical Review of the Performance and Interpretation of Staging Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Rectal Cancer

Wale, Anita BMBS; Brown, Gina MD, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR

Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging: August 2014 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 213–223
doi: 10.1097/RMR.0000000000000028
Review Article

Objectives The purpose of this article was to outline key technical considerations in performing rectal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along with a practical, systematic approach to the interpretation of rectal MRI.

Conclusions Following validation by the Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Rectal Cancer European Equivalence Study group, rectal MRI is mandatory for the local staging of rectal cancer in many countries. The systematic interpretation of high-quality, high-resolution T2-weighted images should form the basis for discussing the management of patients with rectal cancer, including aiding surgical planning and enabling the appropriate use of neoadjuvant therapy.

In this article, we discuss the methods for obtaining high-quality rectal magnetic resonance images and a systematic approach for the accurate interpretation of these images.

From the Department of Radiology, Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Reprints: Anita Wale, BMBS, Department of Radiology, Royal Marsden Hospital, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT, United Kingdom (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Dr Wale is funded by a National Institute of Health Research Academic Clinical Fellowship. Prof Brown is funded by National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre funding to the Royal Marsden Hospital.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.