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Preoperative radiotherapy with or without concurrent fluorouracil and leucovorin in T3-4 rectal cancers: results of FFCD 9203.

Randomized controlled trial
Gérard JP, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2006.


PURPOSE: In 1992, preoperative radiotherapy was considered in France as the standard treatment for T3-4 rectal cancers. The present randomized trial compares preoperative radiotherapy with chemoradiotherapy.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients were eligible if they presented a resectable T3-4, Nx, M0 rectal adenocarcinoma accessible to digital rectal examination. Preoperative radiotherapy with 45 Gy in 25 fractions during 5 weeks was delivered. Concurrent chemotherapy with fluorouracil 350 mg/m2/d during 5 days, together with leucovorin, was administered during the first and fifth week in the experimental arm. Surgery was planned 3 to 10 weeks after the end of radiotherapy. All patients should receive adjuvant chemotherapy with the same fluorouracil/leucovorin regimen. The primary end point of the trial was overall survival.

RESULTS: A total of 733 patients were eligible. Grade 3 or 4 acute toxicity was more frequent with chemoradiotherapy (14.6% v 2.7%; P < .05). There was no difference in sphincter preservation. Complete sterilization of the operative specimen was more frequent with chemoradiotherapy (11.4% v 3.6%; P < .05). The 5-year incidence of local recurrence was lower with chemoradiotherapy (8.1% v 16.5%; P < .05). Overall 5-year survival in the two groups did not differ.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative chemoradiotherapy despite a moderate increase in acute toxicity and no impact on overall survival significantly improves local control and is recommended for T3-4, N0-2, M0 adenocarcinoma of the middle and distal rectum.


17008704 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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