Meaningful words in rectal MRI synoptic reports: How “polypoid” may be prognostic


      • Rectal MRI synoptic reporting contains “polypoid” as a morphologic descriptor.
      • Polypoid morphology of rectal cancer may confer a lower T and N stage.
      • Partially circumferential & circumferential rectal cancers mean higher T & N stage.
      • Polypoid rectal cancers may benefit from surgery rather than neoadjuvant treatment.



      This study explored the clinicopathologic outcomes of rectal tumor morphological descriptors used in a synoptic rectal MRI reporting template and determined that prognostic differences were observed.


      This retrospective study was conducted at a comprehensive cancer center. Fifty patients with rectal tumors for whom the synoptic descriptor “polypoid” was chosen by three experienced radiologists were compared with ninety comparator patients with “partially circumferential” and “circumferential” rectal tumors. Two radiologists re-evaluated all cases. The outcome measures were agreement among two re-interpreting radiologists, clinical T staging with MRI (mrT) and descriptive nodal features, and degrees of wall attachment of tumors (on MRI) compared with pathological (p) T and N stage when available.


      Re-evaluation by two radiologists showed moderate to excellent agreement in tumor morphology, presence of a pedicle, and degree of wall attachment (k = 0.41–0.76) and excellent agreement on lymph node presence and size (ICC = 0.83–0.91). Statistically significant lower mrT stage was noted for polypoid morphology, wherein 98% were mrT1/2, while only 7% and 2% of partially circumferential and circumferential tumors respectively were mrT1/2. Pathologic T and N stages among the three morphologies also differed significantly, with only 14% of polypoid cases higher than stage pT2 compared to 48% of partially circumferential cases and 60% of circumferential cases.


      Using a “polypoid” morphology in rectal cancer MRI synoptic reports revealed a seemingly distinct phenotype with lower clinical and pathologic T and N stages when compared with alternative available descriptors.


      “Polypoid” morphology in rectal cancer confers a lower clinical and pathologic T and N stage and may be useful in determining whether to proceed with surgery versus neoadjuvant treatment.


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