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World J Surg. 2014 Apr;38(4):992-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-013-2313-1.

Influence of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) on perioperative outcome after surgical resection of rectal cancer.

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Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074, Aachen, Germany,



Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) for locally advanced or recurrent rectal cancer as an integral part of multimodal treatment might be an option to reduce local cancer recurrence. The aim of the present study was to determine the influence of IORT on the postoperative outcome and complications rates in the treatment of patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum in comparison to patients with rectum resection only.


A total of 162 patients underwent operation for International Union against Cancer stage III/IV rectal cancer or recurrent rectal cancer at our surgical department between 2004 and 2012. They were divided into two groups depending on whether they received IORT or not. General patient details, tumor, and operation details, as well as perioperative major and minor complications, were registered and compared.


Of the 162 patients treated for stage III/IV rectal cancer, 52 underwent rectal resection followed by IORT. Complication rates were similar in the two groups. Operative time was significantly longer in the IORT group (248 ± 84 vs 177 ± 68 min; p < 0.001). No significant differences were found concerning anastomotic leakage rate, hospital stay, or wound infection rate.


Intraoperative radiotherapy appears to be a safe treatment option in patients with locally advanced or recurrent rectal cancer with acceptable complication rates. The effect on local recurrence rate has to be estimated in long-term follow-up.

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