Organ Preservation in cT2N0 Rectal Cancer After Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation Therapy: The Impact of Radiation Therapy Dose-escalation and Consolidation Chemotherapy

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Abstract

Objective:

To demonstrate the difference in organ-preservation rates and avoidance of definitive surgery among cT2N0 rectal cancer patients undergoing 2 different chemoradiation (CRT) regimens.

Background:

Patients with cT2N0 rectal cancer are more likely to develop complete response to neoadjuvant CRT. Organ preservation has been considered an alternative treatment strategy for selected patients. Radiation dose-escalation and consolidation chemotherapy have been associated with increased rates of response and may improve chances of organ preservation among these patients.

Methods:

Patients with distal and nonmetastatic cT2N0 rectal cancer managed by neoadjuvant CRT were retrospectively reviewed. Patients undergoing standard CRT (50.4 Gy and 2 cycles of 5-FU-based chemotherapy) were compared with those undergoing extended CRT (54 Gy and 6 cycles of 5-FU-based chemotherapy). Patients were assessed for tumor response at 8 to 10 weeks. Patients with complete clinical response (cCR) underwent organ-preservation strategy (“Watch and Wait”). Patients were referred to salvage surgery in the event of local recurrence during follow-up.

Results:

Thirty-five patients underwent standard and 46 patients extended CRT. Patients undergoing extended CRT were more likely to undergo organ preservation and avoid definitive surgical resection at 5years (67% vs 30%; P = 0.001). After development of a cCR, surgery-free survival is similar between extended and standard CRT groups at 5 years (78% vs 56%; P = 0.12).

Conclusions:

Dose-escalation and consolidation chemotherapy leads to increased long-term organ-preservation rates among cT2N0 rectal cancer. After achievement of a cCR, the risk for local recurrence and need for salvage surgery is similar, irrespective of the CRT regimen.

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