Aims: This study aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a new neoadjuvant regimen (FOLFOX4 plus hypofractionated tomotherapy) in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
Methods: Patients with stage II-III rectal cancer were treated with the pre-operative chemoradiotherapy regimen comprising FOLFOX4 (two cycles), TomoTherapy (25 Gy in five consecutive fractions, one fraction per day in 5 days on the clinical target volume at the isodose of 95% of the total dose), FOLFOX4 (two cycles), followed by surgery with total mesorectal excision and adjuvant chemotherapy with FOLFOX4 (eight cycles). The primary endpoint was pathological complete response (pCR).
Results: Fifty-two patients were enrolled and 50 patients were evaluable. A total of 46 (92%) patients completed chemoradiotherapy according to the study protocol and 49 patients underwent surgery. Overall, 12 patients achieved a pCR (24.5%, 95% CI 12.5-36.5). The most common grade 3 or more adverse events were neutropenia and alteration of the alvus. Adverse reactions due to radiotherapy, mainly grade 1-2 dermatitis, tenesmus, urinary dysfunction and pain, were tolerable and fully reversible. The most important surgical complications included infection, anastomotic leakage and fistula, all resolved with conservative treatment.
Conclusion: FOLFOX and hypofractionated TomoTherapy is effective and safe in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Long-term efficacy needs to be further evaluated.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02000050 (registration date: 26 November 2013) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02000050.