The use of radiomic analysis of magnetic resonance imaging in predicting distant metastases of rectal carcinoma following surgical resection: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Colorectal Dis. 2021 Dec;23(12):3065-3072. doi: 10.1111/codi.15919. Epub 2021 Oct 1.


Aim: Estimating prognosis in rectal carcinoma (RC) is challenging, with distant recurrence (DR) occurring in up to 30% of cases. Radiomics is a novel field using diagnostic imaging to investigate the tumour heterogeneity of cancers and may have the potential to predict DR. The aim of the study was to perform a systematic review of the current literature evaluating the use of radiomics in predicting DR in patients with resected RC.

Methods: A systematic review was performed as per PRISMA guidelines to identify studies reporting radiomic analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict DR in patients diagnosed with RC. Sensitivity and specificity of radiomic analyses were included for meta-analysis.

Results: A total of seven studies including 1497 patients (998 males) were included, seven, five and one of whom reported radiomics, respectively. The overall pooled rate of DR from all included studies was 17.1% (256/1497), with 15.6% (236/1497), 1.3% (19/1497) and 0.2% (3/1497) of patients having hepatic, pulmonary and peritoneal metastases. Meta-analysis demonstrated that radiomics correctly predicted DR with pooled sensitivities and specificities of MRI 0.76 (95% CI: 0.73, 0.78) and 0.85 (95% CI: 0.83, 0.88), respectively.

Conclusion: This systematic review suggests the benefit of radiomic analysis of preoperative MRI in identifying patients with resected RC at an increased risk of DR. Our findings warrant validation in larger prospective studies as modalities to predict DR is a significant unmet need in RC. Radiomics may allow for tailored therapeutic strategies for high-risk groups.

Keywords: MRI; carcinoma; distant metastases; radiomics; rectal.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity