SAR user guide to the rectal MR synoptic report (primary staging)

on behalf of the SAR Rectal and Anal Cancer Disease Focus Panel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rectal MR is the key diagnostic exam at initial presentation for rectal cancer patients. It is the primary determinant in establishing clinical stage for the patient and greatly impacts the clinical decision-making process. Consequently, structured reporting for MR is critically important to ensure that all required information is provided to the clinical care team. The SAR initial staging reporting template has been constructed to address these important items, including locoregional extent and factors impacting the surgical approach and management of the patient. Potential outputs to each item are defined, requiring the radiologist to commit to a result. This provides essential information to the surgeon or oncologist to make specific treatment deisions for the patient. The SAR Initial Staging MR reporting template has now been officially adopted by the NAPRC (National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer) under the American College of Surgery. With the recent revisions to the reporting template, this user guide has been revamped to improve its practicality and support to the radiologist to complete the structured report. Each line item of the report is supplemented with clinical perspectives, images, and illustrations to help the radiologist understand the potential implications for a given finding. Common errors and pitfalls to avoid are highlighted. Ideally, rectal MR interpretation should not occur in a vacuum but in the context of a multi-disciplinary tumor board to ensure that healthcare providers use common terminology and share a solid understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of MR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAbdominal Radiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Rectal cancer
  • Staging
  • Structured reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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