Patients with cancer of the rectum, the end part of the large bowel immediately above the anus, are treated with surgery. When the tumour is deemed to present a high risk of recurrence after surgery, a course of radiotherapy (RT) is administered before the operation. It has been proven in clinical studies that this 'preoperative' radiotherapy improves the outcome in rectal cancer patients. Recently, several studies have investigated the combination of radiotherapy with chemotherapy (CRT) before surgery. In theory, adding chemotherapy enhances the antitumour activity of radiotherapy. This meta-analysis has summarized the results of five studies that compared preoperative RT alone with preoperative CRT in rectal cancer patients. All of these studies were randomized, which means that the decision to administer either RT or CRT was determined by chance (ballot draw). The results of the meta-analysis may be summarized as follows. Compared to RT alone, preoperative CRT leads to increased side effects during treatment. Also, postoperative complications are somewhat increased, although the risk of dying from postoperative complications is similar. Preoperative CRT is more effective in causing tumour shrinkage (downstaging), and in preventing local recurrence of the disease. However, addition of chemotherapy did not result in more sphincter preserving surgeries, and did not affect the overall survival in rectal cancer patients.
"The putative benefits of the addition of chemotherapy concurrent with either pre- or postoperative RT include local RT sensitization and systemic control of disease (eradication of micrometastases). Also, preoperative chemoRT has the potential to increase the rates of pathologic complete response and sphincter preservation [26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major outcome of importance for rectal cancer is local control. Parallel to improvements in surgical technique, adjuvant therapy regimens have been tested in clinical trials in an effort to reduce the local recurrence rate. Nowadays, the local recurrence rate has been reduced because of both good surgical techniques and the addition of radiotherapy. Based on recent reports in the literature, preoperative chemoradiotherapy is now considered the standard of care for patients with stages II and III rectal cancer. Also, short-course radiotherapy appears to provide effective local control and the same overall survival as more long-course chemoradiotherapy schedules and, therefore, may be an appropriate choice in some situations. Capecitabine is an acceptable alternative to infusion fluorouracil in those patients who are able to manage the responsibilities inherent in self-administered, oral chemotherapy. However, concurrent administration of oxaliplatin and radiotherapy is not recommended at this time. Radiation therapy has long been considered an important adjunct in the treatment of rectal cancer. Although no prospective data exist for several issues, we hope that in the near future, patients with rectal cancer can be treated by using the best combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy in near future.
Annals of Coloproctology 08/2014; 30(4):165-74. DOI:10.3393/ac.2014.30.4.165
"For advanced rectal cancer, neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (RCT) has been proven to reduce the rate of local recurrence in comparison to postoperative treatment  or preoperative radiotherapy alone [2,3]. German guidelines state exact treatment rules for UICC stage I to III and localization of cancer in the rectum  depending on the local tumor stage at initial tumor diagnosis. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy has been proven superior to adjuvant treatment in reducing the rate of local recurrence without impairing cancer related survival or the incidence of distant metastases in standard protocols of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy. The present study aimed at addressing the effects of an intensified neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy on long term cancer related and disease free survival.
A total of 387 patients underwent oncologic resection for rectal cancer in our institution between January 2000 and December 2009. There were 106 patients (27.4%) who received an intensified radiochemotherapy protocol completely and without excluding criteria (study group). A matched pair analysis was performed by comparing the study group with patients undergoing primary surgery and postoperative radiochemotherapy, if necessary and possible (control group). Matching was carried out in descending order for UICC stage, R-status, tumor height, T-, N-, V-, L-, M- and G-category of the TNM-system according to the histopathological staging. Follow-up data included local recurrence rate, cancer related and disease free survival.
In the study group histopathological work-up of the specimen revealed a treatment response in terms of tumor regression in 92.5% (98/106) of these patients. Undergoing intensified neoadjuvant RCT the actuarial cancer related and disease free survival was 67.9% and 70.4%, local recurrence was 5.7% after an observation period of 4.3 +/- 2.55 years. In the control group cancer related and disease free survival was 71.7% and 82.7%, local recurrence was 4.7% after an observation period of 3.8 +/- 3.05 years revealing no statistical significant difference between the two groups. Moreover, estimated 5-year results of cancer related survival (66.7 vs 67.9 (controls)), the disease free survival (66.7 vs 79.9 (controls)) as well as subgroup analysis of UICC 0-III and UICC IV patients showed no difference between the study and control group as well.
In our study, intensified neoadjuvant radio-chemotherapy shows a high rate of tumor regression. The resulting inferior histopathological tumor stage shows the same long term local control and systemic tumor control as the control group with a primary more favorable tumor stage.
BMC Cancer 08/2013; 13(1):388. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-13-388 · 3.36 Impact Factor
"The adoption of total mesorectal excision and preoperative chemotherapy for stage 2 and 3 tumours has led to significant reductions in local recurrence and is now standard practice in the management of these cancers [8–10]. Although local recurrence is associated with a poor outcome, the use of chemoradiotherapy has yet to be shown to have a significant effect on overall survival . The differences in initial management of rectal cancers have meant that patients with these tumours have been excluded from trials evaluating the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in colon cancer . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of personalised therapy and mechanism-targeted agents in oncology mandates the identification of the patient populations most likely to benefit from therapy. This paper discusses the increasing evidence as to the heterogeneity of the group of diseases called colorectal cancer. Differences in the aetiology and epidemiology of proximal and distal cancers are reflected in different clinical behaviour, histopathology, and molecular characteristics of these tumours. This may impact response both to standard cytotoxic therapies and mechanism-targeted agents. This disease heterogeneity leads to challenges in the design of clinical trials to assess novel therapies in the treatment of "colorectal cancer."
Gastroenterology Research and Practice 09/2012; 2012(7403):564741. DOI:10.1155/2012/564741 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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