Clinical impact of PET/MRI in oligometastatic colorectal cancer


Background: Oligometastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) is potentially curable and demands individualised strategies.

Methods: This single-centre retrospective study investigated if positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MR) had a clinical impact on oligometastatic CRC relative to the standard of care imaging (SCI). Adult patients with oligometastatic CRC on SCI who also underwent PET/MR between 3/2016 and 3/2019 were included. The exclusion criterion was lack of confirmatory standard of reference, either surgical pathology, intraoperative gross confirmation or imaging follow-up. SCI consisted of contrast-enhanced (CE) computed tomography (CT) of the chest/abdomen/pelvis, abdominal/pelvic CE-MR, and/or CE whole-body PET/CT with diagnostic quality (i.e. standard radiation dose) CT. Follow-up was evaluated until 3/2020.

Results: Thirty-one patients constituted the cohort, 16 (52%) male, median patient age was 53 years (interquartile range: 49-65 years). PET/MR and SCI results were divergent in 19% (95% CI 9-37%) of the cases, with PET/MR leading to management changes in all of them. The diagnostic accuracy of PET/MR was 90 ± 5%, versus 71 ± 8% for SCI. In a pairwise analysis, PET/MR outperformed SCI when compared to the reference standard (p = 0.0412).

Conclusions: These findings suggest the potential usefulness of PET/MR in the management of oligometastatic CRC.