Oncologic Outcome and Morbidity in the Elderly Rectal Cancer Patients After Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy and Total Mesorectal Excision: A Multi-institutional and Case-matched Control Study

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the toxicity and oncologic outcome of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) followed by curative total mesorectal excision (TME) in the elderly (≥70 yrs) and younger (<70 yrs) rectal cancer patients.

Background:

Sufficient data for elderly rectal cancer patients who received definitive trimodality have not been accumulated yet.

Patients and Methods:

A total of 1232 rectal cancer patients who received neoadjuvant CRT and TME were enrolled in this study. After propensity-score matching, 310 younger patients and 310 elderly patients were matched with 1:1 manner. Treatment response, toxicity, surgical outcome, recurrence, and survival were assessed and compared between the 2 groups of patients.

Results:

The median age was 58 years for the younger patient group and 74 years for the elderly group. Pathologic complete response rates were not significantly different between the 2 groups (younger and elderly: 17.1% vs 14.8%, P = 0.443). The 5-year recurrence-free survival (younger and elderly: 67.7% vs 65.5%, P = 0.483) and overall survival (younger and elderly: 82.9% vs. 79.5%, P = 0.271) rates were not significantly different between the 2 groups either. Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery was less frequently delivered to the elderly than that to younger patients (83.9% vs 69.0%). Grade 3 or higher acute hematologic toxicity was observed more frequently in the elderly than that in the younger group (9.0% vs 16.1%, P = 0.008). Late complication rate was higher in the elderly group compared with that in the younger group without statistical significance (2.6% vs 4.5%, P = 0.193).

Conclusions:

Although acute hematologic toxicity was observed more frequently in the elderly patients than that in the younger patients, elderly rectal cancer patients with good performance status who received preoperative CRT and TME showed favorable tumor response and recurrence-free survival similar to younger patients.

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