OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the accuracy of standard MRI, diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and fusion images for the diagnosis of locally recurrent rectal cancer in patients with a clinical suspicion of recurrence. METHODS: Forty-two patients with a clinical suspicion of recurrence underwent 1.5-T MRI consisting of standard T2-weighted FSE (3 planes) and an axial DWI (b0,500,1000). Two readers (R1,R2) independently scored the likelihood of recurrence;  on standard MRI,  on standard MRI+DWI, and  on T2-weighted+DWI fusion images. RESULTS: 19/42 patients had a local recurrence. R1 achieved an area under the ROC-curve (AUC) of 0.99, sensitivity 100% and specificity 83% on standard MRI versus 0.98, 100% and 91% after addition of DWI (p = 0.78). For R2 these figures were 0.87, 84% and 74% on standard MRI and 0.91, 89% and 83% with DWI (p = 0.09). Fusion images did not significantly improve the performance. Interobserver agreement was kappa0.69 for standard MRI, kappa0.82 for standard MRI+DWI and kappa0.84 for the fusion images. CONCLUSIONS: MRI is accurate for the diagnosis of locally recurrent rectal cancer in patients with a clinical suspicion of recurrence. Addition of DWI does not significantly improve its performance. However, with DWI specificity and interobserver agreement increase. Fusion images do not improve accuracy.
- Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
- Rectal neoplasms
- Local neoplasm recurrence
- PREOPERATIVE CHEMORADIATION
- HISTOPATHOLOGIC FINDINGS