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Purpose: Preoperative chemoradiotherapy (pre-CRT) followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) is the recommended therapy for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). The primary aim of this study was to compare the rates of local and distant recurrence and overall survival (OS) in LARC patients who received pre-CRT vs postoperative (post) CRT. Methods: The medical records of 158 rectal cancer patients with clinical stage T3, T4 or N positive disease who received either pre-CRT or post-CRT between 2000-2009 were retrospectively analysed. Pre-CRT employed protracted 5-fluorouracil (5FU) infusion, whereas post-CRT included bolus 5FU and leucovorin concurrently with radiation therapy (RT). Radiation dose was 50.4 Gy in 82% and 45 Gy in 18% of the patients. Results: 158 patients (65 females, 93 males) were analysed. Median age was 56.5 years (range 19-78). Fifty-three (34%) patients received pre-CRT and 105 (66%) post-CRT. Median follow-up was 43.3 months (range 8-182) and 47.6 months (range 9-194) in pre-CRT and post-CRT patients, respectively. After pre-CRT, significant downstaging was achieved. However, the type of surgical resection was not influenced by the administration of pre-CRT in tumors ≥5 cm distant from the anal verge (p=0.3). Pathologic complete response was achieved in 20% of the patients in the pre-CRT group. Local recurrence free survival (LRFS) at 5-years was 89.2% in the pre-CRT and 74.8% in the post-CRT group (p=0.04). Distant recurrence free survival (DRFS) at 5-years was 81.7% and 68.5 % in pre-CRT and post-CRT groups, respectively (p=0.1). OS was similar in the two groups (71.4 vs 64.4%, p=0.9). Conclusion: Treatment of LARC with pre-CRT followed by surgery improved LRFS as compared to surgery followed by post-CRT, but failed to improve DRFS or OS in our patient population.


D Tural, M Ozturk, F Selcukbiricik, O Yildiz, O Elicin, H Turna, S Guney, M Ozguroglu. Preoperative chemoradiotherapy improves local recurrence free survival in locally advanced rectal cancer. Journal of B.U.ON. : official journal of the Balkan Union of Oncology. 2013 Apr-Jun;18(2):385-90

PMID: 23818350

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