The role of baseline mesorectal fascia status and its change after neoadjuvant therapy in predicting prognosis in locally advanced rectal cancer
Keywords:Rectal neoplasms; Mesorectal fascia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Prognosis
Objective: To analyze the role of baseline mesorectal fascia (MRF) status and the correlation between MRF changes and prognosis after neoadjuvant therapy in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
Methods: Totally 321 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer were retrospectively analyzed from January 2014 to December 2016 in Peking University Cancer Hospital. All Patients underwent surgery after neoadjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and were followed up regularly after surgery. The MRF status, extramural vascular invasion (EMVI) status, tumor location, tumor stage and lymph node status were evaluated on baseline MRI. For patients with positive baseline MRF, preoperative MRF status was also evaluated. Chi‑square test or independent t test were used to compare the characteristics between MRF positive and negative patients. Kaplan‑Meier curve, log‑rank test and multivariate Cox regression were used to analyze the correlation between imaging features and prognosis.
Results: In all of the 321 subjects, 193 (60.1%) had positive baseline MRF, 54 (28.0%) of the 193 patients had negative MRF after neoadjuvant therapy, and 139 (72.0%) of them still had positive MRF preoperatively. The postoperative pathological T and N stages were significantly higher in patients with positive baseline MRF than those with negative MRF, and the proportion of patients achieving complete pathological response was significantly lower than those with negative MRF (All P < 0.05). The postoperative pathological T and N stages of patients with MRF negative conversion were significantly lower than those without MRF negative conversion. In patients with negative baseline MRF and patients with negative MRF conversion after neoadjuvant therapy, the proportion of positive MRI EMVI was significantly lower (All P < 0.05). Univariate survival analysis showed that overall survival and metastasis free survival were poorer in patients with positive MRF at baseline, with a hazard ratio of 3.33 and 1.69, respectively. There was no significant correlation between negative MRF conversion after neoadjuvant therapy and overall survival, metastasis free survival and recurrence free survival. Multivariate Cox analysis showed that baseline MRF and EMVI status were independent factors for overall survival and metastasis free survival, with a risk ratio of 2.15 and 3.35 for overall survival, 1.13 and 2.74 for metastasis free survival, respectively.
Conclusions: Baseline MRF status is one of the independent prognostic predictors in locally advanced rectal cancer patients with neoadjuvant therapy. However, the role of the change in MRF status after neoadjuvant therapy is uncertain for predicting prognosis.