Assessment of mesorectal fascia status in MRI compared with circumferential resection margin after total mesorectal excision and predictors of involved margins

Published:August 12, 2022DOI:



      Circumferential resection margin is an important prognosticator for total mesorectal excision outcome. We investigated the status of mesorectal fascia on magnetic resonance imaging compared with circumferential resection margin on pathology and factors associated with status change.


      This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective database of rectal cancer patients who underwent surgery. Mesorectal fascia status on magnetic resonance imaging done before neoadjuvant therapy and circumferential resection margin status on pathology were compared. The study outcomes were factors associated with a margin status conversion between magnetic resonance imaging and pathology, and predictors of involved circumferential resection margin.


      In total, 244 patients (average follow-up of 25.4 months) were included. Eighty-one (33.2%) patients had potentially involved mesorectal fascia in magnetic resonance imaging and 12 (4.9%) had involved circumferential resection margin in pathology. A total of 2.8% of patients had a conversion of clear mesorectal fascia in magnetic resonance imaging to involved circumferential resection margin. Abdominoperineal resection was significantly associated with this status change (odds ratio: 25, 95% confidence interval: 2.4–255.8, P = .007). In total, 7.4% of patients with potentially involved mesorectal fascia had persistently involved circumferential resection margin. Lack of total neoadjuvant therapy was associated with higher, yet statistically insignificant, odds of persistently involved circumferential resection margin (odds ratio: 12, 95% confidence interval: 0.65–220.8, P = .09). The significant independent predictors of involved circumferential resection margin were body mass index (odds ratio: 1.2, P = .016) and abdominoperineal resection (odds ratio: 4.22, P = .04).


      Change of clear mesorectal fascia in magnetic resonance imaging to an involved circumferential resection margin in pathology was recorded in 2.8% of patients; abdominoperineal resection might be associated with this change. Approximately 7% of patients had persistent involvement of circumferential resection margin as determined by pathology. Omission of total neoadjuvant therapy might be associated with persistent margin involvement.
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