Relationship Between Baseline Rectal Tumor Length and Magnetic Resonance Tumor Regression Grade Response to Chemoradiotherapy: A Subanalysis of the TRIGGER Feasibility Study.
TRIGGER Study Group
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BACKGROUND: It is widely believed that small rectal tumors are more likely to have a good response to neoadjuvant treatment, which may influence the selection of patients for a 'watch and wait' strategy. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between baseline tumor length on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and response to chemoradiotherapy. METHOD: The 96 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer randomised (2:1-intervention:control) in the TRIGGER feasibility study where eligible. Baseline tumor length was defined as the maximal cranio-caudal length on baseline MRI (mm) and was recorded prospectively at study registration. Magnetic resonance tumor regression grade (mrTRG) assessment was performed on the post-chemoradiotherapy (CRT) MRI 4-6 weeks (no later than 10 weeks) post completion of CRT. This was routinely reported for patients in the intervention (mrTRG-directed management) arm and reported for the purposes of this study by the central radiologist in the control arm patients. Those with an mrTRG I/II response were defined as 'good responders' and those with an mrTRG III-V response were defined as 'poor responders'. RESULTS: Overall, 94 patients had a post-CRT MRI performed and were included. Forty-three (46%) patients had a good response (mrTRG I/II) and 51 (54%) patients had a poor response (mrTRG III/IV). The median tumor length of good responders was 43 mm versus 50 mm (p < 0.001), with considerable overlap in tumor lengths between groups. CONCLUSION: Baseline tumor length on MRI is not a clinically useful biomarker to predict mrTRG tumor response to CRT and therefore patient suitability for a deferral of surgery trial.
TRIGGER Study Group
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Annals of Surgical Oncology, 2022,