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Lancet Oncol. 2015 Feb;16(2):200-7. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(14)71199-4. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Adjuvant chemotherapy after preoperative (chemo)radiotherapy and surgery for patients with rectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands.
2
Department of Radiation Oncology, Besançon University Hospital J Minjoz, Besançon, France.
3
Department of Statistics, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Brussels, Belgium.
4
Department of Radiotherapy, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy.
5
Department of Medical Oncology, Mount Vernon Centre for Cancer Treatment, London, UK.
6
CRUK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre, London, UK.
7
Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands; Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands.
8
Department of Medical Statistics and Bio-informatics, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands.
9
Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands. Electronic address: C.J.H.van_de_Velde@lumc.nl.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The role of adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with rectal cancer after preoperative (chemo)radiotherapy and surgery is uncertain. We did a meta-analysis of individual patient data to compare adjuvant chemotherapy with observation for patients with rectal cancer.

METHODS:

We searched PubMed, Medline, Embase, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library, CENTRAL, and conference abstracts to identify European randomised, controlled, phase 3 trials comparing observation with adjuvant chemotherapy after preoperative (chemo)radiotherapy and surgery for patients with non-metastatic rectal cancer. The primary endpoint of interest was overall survival.

FINDINGS:

We analysed data from four eligible trials, including data from 1196 patients with (y)pTNM stage II or III disease, who had an R0 resection, had a low anterior resection or an abdominoperineal resection, and had a tumour located within 15 cm of the anal verge. We found no significant differences in overall survival between patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy and those who underwent observation (hazard ratio [HR] 0.97, 95% CI 0.81-1.17; p=0.775); there were no significant differences in overall survival in subgroup analyses. Overall, adjuvant chemotherapy did not significantly improve disease-free survival (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.77-1.07; p=0.230) or distant recurrences (0.94, 0.78-1.14; p=0.523) compared with observation. However, in subgroup analyses, patients with a tumour 10-15 cm from the anal verge had improved disease-free survival (0.59, 0.40-0.85; p=0.005, p(interaction)=0.107) and fewer distant recurrences (0.61, 0.40-0.94; p=0.025, p(interaction)=0.126) when treated with adjuvant chemotherapy compared with patients undergoing observation.

INTERPRETATION:

Overall, adjuvant fluorouracil-based chemotherapy did not improve overall survival, disease-free survival, or distant recurrences. However, adjuvant chemotherapy might benefit patients with a tumour 10-15 cm from the anal verge in terms of disease-free survival and distant recurrence. Further studies of preoperative and postoperative treatment for this subgroup of patients are warranted.

FUNDING:

None.

PMID:
25589192
DOI:
10.1016/S1470-2045(14)71199-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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