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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2008 Mar;23(3):227-36. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemoradiation or radiotherapy in rectal cancer--a review focusing on open questions.

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  • 1Klinik für Radioonkologie und Strahlentherapie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany.



The therapy of rectal cancer has been a matter of debate since decades, especially with regard to the benefits of neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapies. Principles of additional therapies have been established nearly two decades ago and are questioned nowadays on the basis of more recently modified operative techniques. Benefits and sequelae of therapies have to be balanced against each other, and it seems somewhat likely that a more differentiated strategy than simply stating that every patient with stage II and III rectal cancer needs chemoradiation or radiotherapy will, in long term, be recommended.


It should be kept in mind that results of centers of excellence and of phase-III studies with their positively selected patient populations are not representative for all the patients with rectal cancer and physicians treating them.

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