Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1993 Apr 2;25(5):821-7.

Pre-operative combined 5-FU, low dose leucovorin, and sequential radiation therapy for unresectable rectal cancer.

Author information

Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.



We performed a Phase I trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose of combined pre-operative radiation (5040 cGy) and 2 cycles (bolus daily x 5) of 5-FU and low dose LV (20 mg/m2), followed by surgery and 10 cycles of post-operative LV/5-FU in patients with unresectable primary or recurrent rectal cancer.


Twelve patients were entered. The initial dose of 5-FU was 325 mg/m2. 5-FU was to be escalated while the LV remained constant at 20 mg/m2. Chemotherapy began on day 1 and radiation on day 8. The post-operative chemotherapy, was not dose escalated; 5-FU: 425 mg/m2 and LV: 20 mg/m2. The median follow-up was 14 months (7-16 months).


Following pre-operative therapy, the resectability rate with negative margins was 91% and the pathologic complete response rate was 9%. For the combined modality segment (preoperative) the incidence of any grade 3+ toxicity was diarrhea: 17%, dysuria: 8%, mucositis: 8%, and erythema: 8%. The median nadir counts were WBC: 3.1, HGB: 8.8, and PLT: 153,000. The maximum tolerated dose of 5-FU for pre-operative combined LV/5-FU/RT was 325 mg/m2 with no escalation possible. Therefore, the recommended dose was less than 325 mg/m2.


Since adequate doses of 5-FU to treat systemic disease could not be delivered until at least 3 months (cycle 3) following the start of therapy, we do not recommend that this 5-FU, low dose LV, and sequential radiation therapy regimen be used as presently designed. However, given the 91% resectability rate we remain encouraged with this approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center