To evaluate the effect of the time interval between chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and surgery on CRT response and surgical outcomes.Summary Background Data:
Although preoperative CRT is a standard component of multimodal treatment for locally advanced rectal cancers, the optimal time for surgery after CRT has yet to be established. This study analyzed outcomes in 397 prospectively enrolled patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who underwent fractionated CRT involving 50.4 Gy radiotherapy followed by surgical resection between 4 and 8 weeks later.Methods:
Patients were divided into 2 groups according to the time that elapsed between CRT and surgery: group A (28–41 day interval) and group B (42–56 day interval). CRT responses and surgical outcomes were analyzed.Results:
Of the 397 patients, 217 (54.7%) were in group A and 180 (45.3%) in group B. The 2 groups were similar in terms of pretreatment characteristics other than a slight difference in mean age (A: 55.3 years vs. B: 57.5 years, P = 0.042). Analysis of CRT responses showed that the 2 groups were similar in terms of T-level downstaging rate (A: 47.5% vs. B: 44.4%, P = 0.548), volume reduction rate (A: 34.6% vs. B: 34.2%, P = 0.870) and complete response rate (A: 13.8% vs. B: 15.0%, P = 0.740). Analysis of surgical outcomes showed that the 2 groups were also similar in terms of sphincter-preservation rate (A: 83.9% vs. B: 82.2%, P = 0.688) and anastomosis-related complication rate (A: 5.5% vs. B: 3.9%, P = 0.453). The median follow-up period was 31 months (range, 5–63), and both groups showed similar local recurrence-free survival rates (P = 0.1165).Conclusion:
The present findings suggest that compared with a 4 to 6 week interval, delaying surgery for 6 to 8 weeks after completion of fractionated radiotherapy with concurrent chemotherapy does not improve CRT response or the sphincter-preservation rate, and does not decrease morbidity or local recurrence.