Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), and positron emission tomography (PET) are complementary imaging modalities in the preoperative staging of patients with rectal cancer, and each offers their own individual strengths and weaknesses. MRI is the best available radiologic modality for the local staging of rectal cancers, and can play an important role in accurately distinguishing which patients should receive preoperative chemoradiation prior to total mesorectal excision. Alternatively, both MDCT and PET are considered primary modalities when performing preoperative distant staging, but are limited in their ability to locally stage rectal malignancies. This review details the role of each of these three modalities in rectal cancer staging, and how the three imaging modalities can be used in conjunction.
- computed tomography (CT)
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- positron emission tomography (PET)
- Rectal cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas