Purpose: The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate if PET/MR induced management changes versus standard of care imaging (SCI) in treated colorectal cancer patients. The secondary aim was to assess the staging performance of PET/MR and of SCI versus the final oncologic stage.
Methods: Treated CRC patients who underwent PET/MR with 18F-FDG and SCI between January 2016 and October 2018 were enrolled in this retrospective study. Their medical records were evaluated to ascertain if PET/MR had impacted on their clinical management versus SCI. The final oncologic stage, as reported in the electronic medical record, was considered the true stage of disease.
Results: A total of 39 patients who underwent 42 PET/MR studies were included, mean age 56.7 years (range 39-75 years), 26 males, and 13 females. PET/MR changed clinical management 15/42 times (35.7%, standard error ± 7.4%); these 15 changes in management were due to upstaging in 9/42 (21.5%) and downstaging in 6/42 (14.2%). The differences in management prompted by SCI versus PET/MR were statistically significant, and PET/MR outperformed SCI (P value < 0.001; odds ratio = 2.8). In relation to the secondary outcome, PET/MR outperformed the SCI in accuracy of oncologic staging (P value = 0.016; odds ratio = 4.6).
Conclusions: PET/MR is a promising imaging tool in the evaluation of treated CRC and might change the management in these patients. However, multicenter prospective studies with larger patient samples are required in order to confirm these preliminary results.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; FDG; Management changes; PET/MR.