Results of a diagnostic imaging audit in a randomised clinical trial in rectal cancer highlight the importance of careful planning and quality control

Ilaria Prata*, Martina Eriksson, Jasenko Krdzalic, Elma Meershoek-Klein Kranenbarg, Annet G H Roodvoets, Regina Beets-Tan, Cornelis J H van de Velde, Boudewijn van Etten, Geke A P Hospers, Bengt Glimelius, Per J Nilsson, Corrie A M Marijnen, Koen C M J Peeters, Lennart K Blomqvist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is the modality used for baseline assessment of locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) and restaging after neoadjuvant treatment. The overall audited quality of MR imaging in large multicentre trials on rectal cancer is so far not routinely reported.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We collected MR images obtained within the Rectal Cancer And Pre-operative Induction Therapy Followed by Dedicated Operation (RAPIDO) trial and performed an audit of the technical features of image acquisition. The required MR sequences and slice thickness stated in the RAPIDO protocol were used as a reference.

RESULTS: Out of 920 participants of the RAPIDO study, MR investigations of 668 and 623 patients in the baseline and restaging setting, respectively, were collected. Of these, 304/668 (45.5%) and 328/623 (52.6%) MR images, respectively, fulfilled the technical quality criteria. The main reason for non-compliance was exceeding slice thickness 238/668, 35.6% in the baseline setting and 162/623, 26.0% in the restaging setting. In 166/668, 24.9% and 168/623, 27.0% MR images in the baseline and restaging setting, respectively, one or more of the required pulse sequences were missing.

CONCLUSION: Altogether, 49.0% of the MR images obtained within the RAPIDO trial fulfilled the image acquisition criteria required in the study protocol. High-quality MR imaging should be expected for the appropriate initial treatment and response evaluation of patients with LARC, and efforts should be made to maximise the quality of imaging in clinical trials and in clinical practice.

CRITICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: This audit highlights the importance of adherence to MR image acquisition criteria for rectal cancer, both in multicentre trials and in daily clinical practice. High-resolution images allow correct staging, treatment stratification and evaluation of response to neoadjuvant treatment.

KEY POINTS: - Complying to MR acquisition guidelines in multicentre trials is challenging. - Neglection on MR acquisition criteria leads to poor staging and treatment. - MR acquisition guidelines should be followed in trials and clinical practice. - Researchers should consider mandatory audits prior to study initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number206
Number of pages12
JournalInsights into Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 24-Nov-2023

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