Intra-and Interobserver Variability of Shear Wave Elastography in Rectal Cancer

Martina Kastrup Loft*, Malene Roland Vils Pedersen, Peter Grimm, Andreas Hoffmann Lauritzen, Claus Dam, Søren Rafael Rafaelsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Endorectal ultrasound (ERUS) is an important tool when evaluating complex rectal adenomas and rectal cancer, and the accuracy is improved by adding elastography measurements. A high interobserver agreement is imperative in clinical practice. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate interobserver agreement assessed on real-time images. Additionally, we investigated the intra-and interobserver agreement between experienced and inexperienced observers. Materials and methods: We prospectively included patients referred to an ERUS at the Department of Radiology with a complex rectal polyp or suspected rectal malignancy. Two operators independently scanned each patient in turn. Furthermore, four observers assessed previously obtained images using three different methods for placing the region of interest (ROI). Three months later, the four observers reassessed the images to assess intraobserver variability. Results: A total of 19 patients were included for live assessment. Agreement of tumor classification was substantial for T stage (kappa: 0.86) and fair for N stage (kappa: 0.73), with an absolute agreement for T and N stages of 84% and 89%, respectively. Agreement of SWE was good for Emean (ICC 0.94, 95% CI 0.86–0.98) and fair for Emax (ICC 0.85, 95% CI 0.66–0.94). Intra-and interobserver agreement between inexperienced and experienced observers showed good to excellent agreement with all ROI methods. Conclusion: Interobserver agreement is high in SWE when performed in a clinical setting. We found the best agreement using the mean value of several ROIs. Intra-and interobserver agreement was high regardless of operator experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2633
Issue number11
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • interobserver
  • rectal neoplasms
  • reproducibility
  • shear wave elastography
  • ultrasound


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