Definitive Chemoradiation for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Rectum

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Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the rectum is a rare disease with <80 cases reported in the English literature. We reviewed outcomes in patients with SCC of the rectum treated with definitive chemoradiation at a single institution.

Materials and Methods:

We identified 14 patients treated definitively with chemoradiation for SCC of the rectum. All patients were female and the median age was 56 years at presentation. Patients were treated with external beam radiation therapy with a median dose of 54 Gy (range, 38 to 58.8 Gy). All patients received concurrent chemotherapy, with 5-flourouracil and cisplatin in 10 patients and capecitabine and cisplatin in 4 patients.


The median follow-up was 4.5 years (range, 1.8 to 16.3 y). Only 3 of the 14 patients had relapse or persistent disease, and 2 of these underwent successful salvage surgery. The remaining 11 patients had no evidence for local or distant relapse after chemoradiation. Only 1 patient died of SCC of the rectum, 1 died of a second primary, and 12 are alive with no evidence of disease. The 5-year actuarial overall survival, disease-free survival, and disease-specific survival rates were 81%, 72%, and 88% respectively.


Chemoradiation is an ideal strategy for definitive therapy of SCC of the rectum with excellent disease-free survival and overall survival. In patients with local failure, salvage surgery can provide excellent outcomes.

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