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Radiat Oncol J. 2016 Jun;34(2):96-105. doi: 10.3857/roj.2016.01704. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Preoperative chemoradiation for locally advanced rectal cancer: comparison of three radiation dose and fractionation schedules.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.



The standard radiation dose for patients with locally rectal cancer treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy is 45-50 Gy in 25-28 fractions. We aimed to assess whether a difference exists within this dose fractionation range.


A retrospective analysis was performed to compare three dose fractionation schedules. Patients received 50 Gy in 25 fractions (group A), 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions (group B), or 45 Gy in 25 fractions (group C) to the whole pelvis, as well as concurrent 5-fluorouracil. Radical resection was scheduled for 8 weeks after concurrent chemoradiotherapy.


Between September 2010 and August 2013, 175 patients were treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy at our institution. Among those patients, 154 were eligible for analysis (55, 50, and 49 patients in groups A, B, and C, respectively). After the median follow-up period of 29 months (range, 5 to 48 months), no differences were found between the 3 groups regarding pathologic complete remission rate, tumor regression grade, treatment-related toxicity, 2-year locoregional recurrence-free survival, distant metastasis-free survival, disease-free survival, or overall survival. The circumferential resection margin width was a prognostic factor for 2-year locoregional recurrence-free survival, whereas ypN category was associated with distant metastasis-free survival, disease-free survival, and overall survival. High tumor regression grading score was correlated with 2-year distant metastasis-free survival and disease-free survival in univariate analysis.


Three different radiation dose fractionation schedules, within the dose range recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, had no impact on pathologic tumor regression and early clinical outcome for locally advanced rectal cancer.


Chemoradiotherapy; Dose fractionation; Neoadjuvant therapy; Radiotherapy; Rectal neoplasms

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