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MRI predicts survival in locally advanced rectal cancer
Date:8/29/2011

A new study has shown that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used to evaluate responses to pre-surgery (neo-adjuvant) chemotherapy or radiation may predict survival among patients with advanced rectal cancer. The findings suggest that MRI-assessed tumor responses to neoadjuvant therapy can help physicians to better plan their patients' subsequent treatments.

MRI prior to surgery could help in the management of patients in a number of ways, including offering more intense therapy or alternative chemotherapy to those patients who appear initially resistant to chemotherapy, or changing the surgical plan.

"This is the first time that MRI has been shown to predict outcome for patients with rectal cancer who have completed initial chemoradiation therapy," said lead author Gina Brown, MBBS, MD, consultant radiologist and honorary senior lecturer in the Department of Radiology at the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust in Sutton, UK. "MRI staging and reassessment of rectal cancers before and after chemoradiotherapy are not routinely done for all patients. We've shown that using MRI this way can help change the course of patient care, perhaps enabling physicians to choose a more effective chemotherapy drug or even in some cases ultimately avoid surgery."

In the study - called MERCURY - researchers used MRI to measure tumor shrinkage in 111 patients who had previously undergone preoperative radiotherapy or both chemotherapy and radiation (chemoradiation) for locally advanced rectal cancer. The group - part of a larger study of MRI use in improving rectal cancer staging begun in 2002 - was followed for five years. The researchers measured tumor response in terms of "tumor regression grade (TRG)," which measures the degree of tumor shrinkage after therapy, and the involvement of "circumferential resection margin (CRM)," which refers to the remaining cancer at the tumor edges after treatment, or predicted to remain after surgery. Patients were broad
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Contact: Nicole Fernandes
nicole.fernandes@asco.org
571-483-1354
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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