The impact of MRI sequence on tumour staging and gross tumour volume delineation in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal

Davide Prezzi*, Ramin Mandegaran, Sofia Gourtsoyianni, Kasia Owczarczyk, Andrew Gaya, Robert Glynne-Jones, Vicky Goh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To compare maximum tumour diameter (MTD) and gross tumour volume (GTV) measurements between T2-weighted (T2-w) and diffusion-weighted (DWI) MRI in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (SCCA) and assess sequence impact on tumour (T) staging. Second, to evaluate interobserver agreement and reader delineation confidence. Methods: The staging MRI scans of 45 SCCA patients (25 females) were assessed retrospectively by two independent radiologists (0 and 5 years’ experience of anal cancer MRI). MTD and GTV were delineated on both T2-w and high-b-value DWI images and compared between sequences; T staging was derived from MTD. Interobserver agreement was assessed and delineation confidence scored (1 to 5) by each observer. Results: GTV and MTD were significantly and systematically lower on DWI versus T2-w sequences by 14.80%/9.98% (MTD) and 29.70%/12.25% (GTV) for each reader, respectively, causing T staging discordances in approximately a quarter of cases. Bland-Altman limits of agreement were narrower and intraclass correlation coefficients higher for DWI. Delineation confidence was greater on DWI: 40/42 cases were scored confidently (4 or 5) by each reader, respectively, versus 31/36 cases based on T2-w images. Conclusions: Sequence selection affects SCCA measurements and T stage. DWI yields higher interobserver agreement and greater tumour delineation confidence. Key Points: • MTD and GTV measurements are significantly lower on DWI than on T2-w MRI. • Such differences cause T staging discordances in up to a quarter of cases. • DWI results in higher agreement between inexperienced and experienced observers. • DWI offers greater tumour delineation confidence to inexperienced readers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2017


  • Anus neoplasms
  • Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neoplasm staging
  • Radiotherapy, image-guided


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