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Randomized phase 3 trial comparing preoperative and postoperative chemoradiotherapy with capecitabine for locally advanced rectal cancer.

Randomized controlled trial
Park JH, et al. Cancer. 2011.


BACKGROUND: Although many trials have shown the efficacy of preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) or postoperative CRT compared with surgery alone, the optimal sequence of radiotherapy and surgery is unclear. The authors reported the final results of this single institution prospective randomized phase 3 trial comparing preoperative CRT with postoperative CRT using capecitabine in survival, local control, sphincter preservation, and toxicity for the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer.

METHODS: Patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (cT3, potentially resectable cT4 or N+) were randomly assigned to receive preoperative or postoperative CRT. CRT consisted of 50 Gy/25 fractions and concurrent capecitabine (1,650 mg/m(2)/day). Total mesorectal excision was performed.

RESULTS: From March 2004 to April 2006, 240 patients were enrolled. Clinical characteristics were well balanced between both arms, except for more low-lying (<5 cm from anal verge) tumors in the preoperative CRT arm (60% vs 46%, P = .041). After a median follow-up time of 52 months, the 3- and 5-year disease-free survival, overall survival, and cumulative incidence of local recurrence were similar between both arms. However, for the patients with low-lying tumors, the preoperative CRT arm had a higher rate of sphincter preservation (68% vs 42%, P = .008). Acute and late complication rates were similar between both arms.

CONCLUSIONS: Although significant benefit of preoperative CRT in local control and survival was not demonstrated, the data showed that increased rate of sphincter preservation was possible in low-lying tumors without jeopardizing local control and surgical complication by preoperative CRT.

Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.


21328328 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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