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Radiother Oncol. 1997 Sep;44(3):277-82.

Combined modality treatment including intraoperative radiotherapy in locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, Oslo.



Treatment of locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer usually has a high local recurrence rate and poor survival. Promising results have been reported by combined external radiotherapy, extensive surgery and intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT).


One hundred fifteen patients with locally advanced rectal cancers fixed to the pelvic wall or locally recurrent rectal cancers underwent preoperative external radiotherapy with 46-50 Gy. Six to 8 weeks later radical pelvic surgery was attempted, and was combined with intraoperative electron beam radiotherapy (15-20 Gy) in 66 patients. The patients were followed closely to evaluate complication rate, local and distant recurrence rate and survival.


Surgery with no macroscopic tumour remaining was obtained in 65% of the patients with no postoperative deaths. Pelvic infection was the major complication (21%). Although the observation time is short (3-60 months), the local recurrence rate seems low (22%) and survival seems promising (about 60% at 4 years) in patients with complete tumour resection, in contrast to patients with residual tumour (none living at 4 years).


The combined modality treatment with preoperative external radiotherapy and extensive pelvic surgery with IORT is sufficiently promising to start a randomized trial on the clinical value of IORT as a boost treatment in the multidisciplinary approach to this disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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