Baseline MR Staging of Rectal Cancer: A Practical Approach

Neeraj Lalwani, David D.B. Bates, Hina Arif-Tiwari, Ashish Khandelwal, Elena Korngold, Mark Lockhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As therapeutic options to treat rectal cancers have advanced over the last several decades, MRI has become the standard of care for baseline local tumor and nodal staging of rectal cancers. An understanding of the technique, anatomy, tumor appearance, and elements of staging on MRI is essential to provide prognostic information and to guide neoadjuvant chemoradiation and surgical treatment. We provide a framework for imaging the rectum on MRI followed by a practical case-based approach to interpretation of pre-treatment MRI of the rectum in evaluation of rectal cancers, with examples and illustrations of the range of local tumor (T) stage and nodal (N) disease involvement. This approach can be paired with standardized reporting templates to support clear, accurate and clinically relevant imaging assessment of rectal cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-176
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • MRI of rectum
  • Rectal cancers
  • baseline staging
  • mesorectum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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