Pathological extramural vascular invasion (EMVI) is an independent prognostic factor in rectal cancer, but can also be identified on MRI-detected extramural vascular invasion (mrEMVI). We perform a meta-analysis to determine the risk of metastatic disease at presentation and after surgery in mrEMVI-positive patients compared with negative tumours.
Electronic databases were searched from January 1980 to March 2016. Conventional meta-analytical techniques were used to provide a summative outcome. Quality assessment of the studies was performed.
Six articles reported on mrEMVI in 1262 patients. There were 403 patients in the mrEMVI-positive group and 859 patients in the mrEMVI-negative group. The combined prevalence of mrEMVI-positive tumours was 0.346(range=0.198-0.574). Patients with mrEMVI-positive tumours presented more frequently with metastases compared to mrEMVI-negative tumours (fixed effects model: odds ratio (OR)=5.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) (3.75, 8.61), z=8.21, df=2, P<0.001). Patients who were mrEMVI-positive developed metastases more frequently during follow-up (random effects model: OR=3.91, 95% CI (2.61, 5.86), z=6.63, df=5, P<0.001).
MRI-detected extramural vascular invasion is prevalent in one-third of patients with rectal cancer. MRI-detected extramural vascular invasion is a poor prognostic factor as evidenced by the five-fold increased rate of synchronous metastases, and almost four-fold ongoing risk of developing metastases in follow-up after surgery.