Background: To analyze early results of a single institution's experience using neo-adjuvant chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced, ultrasound-staged rectal cancer. Patients and methods: Since 1998, 67 consecutive patients (36 males and 31 females; mean age, 59.5) have received preoperative combined treatment for T3 or T4 rectal cancer. All patients were staged by endorectal ultrasound and computed tomography, and all had a pathology-demonstrated invasive adenocarcinoma of the rectum. Patients were treated preoperatively with concomitant radiochemotherapy: pelvic irradiation (50 Gy in 25 fractions) and protracted-venous-infusion 5-fluorouracil (225 mg/m2/d, 7 days per week). Patients were restaged within 4 weeks, then submitted to surgery within 6-7 weeks after the end of therapy. Adjuvant postoperative chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil plus folinic acid - the "de Gramont" schedule - for 24 weeks was purposed to all patients. Results: Radiotherapy was completed in all cases; only one patient required suspension of the treatment for grade 4 toxicity (diarrhea). Instead, chemotherapy was interrupted in 3 cases (2 for central venous catheter thrombosis and 1 for grade IV diarrhea). Sixty-six patients underwent surgical resection (1 patient died before surgical treatment). Radical surgery was performed in 94%, and 46% of the 26 patients with distal rectal cancer had a conservative sphincter-sparing surgery. A complete pathologic response (defined as no evidence of viable tumor cells) was obtained in 22%. At a median follow-up of 17 months, distant metastases have been observed in 10 patients, and 3 of them developed a local recurrence. The actuarial estimations of 4-year overall survival, disease-free survival, local and distant control are 79%, 61%, 94% and 61%, respectively. Conclusions: Preoperative chemoradiotherapy seems to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment with a low complication rate. The high percentage of down-staging and sphincter sparing, also in distal rectal cancer, shows the efficacy of the treatment, which could significantly influence the incidence of relapses and quality of life.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2003|
- Rectal cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research