Pelvic MRI plays a critical role in rectal cancer staging and treatment response assessment. Despite a consensus regarding the essential protocol components of a rectal cancer MRI, substantial differences in image quality persist across institutions and vendor software/hardware platforms. In this review, we present image optimization strategies for rectal cancer MRI examinations, including but not limited to preparation strategies, high-resolution T2-weighted imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging. Our specific recommendations are supported by case studies from multiple institutions. Finally, we describe an ongoing initiative by the Society of Abdominal Radiology’s Disease-Focused Panel (DFP) on Rectal and Anal Cancer to create standardized rectal cancer MRI protocols across scanner platforms. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- Diffusion-weighted imaging
- High-resolution T2-weighted imaging
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Protocol optimization
- Rectal cancer