Improved overall survival among responders to preoperative chemoradiation for locally advanced rectal cancer.


Journal Article

The aim of this study was to determine if the response to preoperative radiation and chemotherapy with continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) was predictive for survival among patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Preoperative chemoradiation (CTX/XRT) that delivered 45 Gy in 25 fractions over 5 weeks with continuous infusion 5-FU (300 mg/m2/day) was given to 117 patients. The pretreatment stage distribution, as determined by endorectal ultrasound (u), included uT2N0 in 2%, uT3N0 in 47%, uT3N1 in 49%, and uT4N0 in 2% of cases; endorectal ultrasound was not performed in 13% of cases (15 patients). Approximately 6 weeks after completion of CTX/XRT, surgery was performed. Adjuvant chemotherapy, consisting of 400 to 425 mg/m2 of 5-FU plus 20 mg/m2 leucovorin for 5 days, was administered every 28 days for 4 to 6 cycles after surgical resection. Among the 74 patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, the preoperative stage of disease was 31 with T3N0 and 43 T3N1. Median follow-up was 46 months (range 2 to 89 months). The pathologic tumor stages were Tis-2N0 in 26%, T2N1 in 5%, T3N0 in 21%, T3N1 in 15%, T4N0 in 5%, and T4N1 in 1%; a complete response (CR) to preoperative CTX/XRT was pathologically confirmed in 32 (27%) of patients. Tumor down-staging occurred in 72 (62%) cases. A sphincter-saving procedure (SP) was possible in 59% of patients. The median DFS and overall survival rates for responders were 46 months and 47 months, respectively; for non-responders these outcome measures were 38 months and 41 months, respectively. Log-rank analysis showed that the distant metastatic-free survival rates improved with any response to CTX/XRT (p < 0.00001), CR to CTX/XRT (p < 0.009) and SP (p < 0.012). Likewise, these parameters also significantly influenced DFS rates (CTX/XRT p < 0.00001; CR p < 0.006; and SP p < 0.008). Control of pelvic disease was influenced by clinical size (p < 0.002) and SP (p < 0.016) on univariate analysis. On multivariate analysis only clinical size (p < 0.002) continued to be a significant factor for local control. Factors on multivariate analysis that resulted in significant improvements in cancer-specific survival included any response to preoperative CTX/XRT (p < 0.017) and administration of adjuvant chemotherapy (p < 0.034). Any response to preoperative CTX/XRT improved distant metastatic-free and disease-free survival rates. Multivariate analysis confirmed that a response to preoperative CTX/XRT predicted for improvements in overall survival among patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Patients who fail to respond to preoperative 5-FU based chemotherapy given concomitantly with radiation have higher rates of distant metastases with adjuvant 5-FU therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Janjan, NA; Crane, C; Feig, BW; Cleary, K; Dubrow, R; Curley, S; Vauthey, JN; Lynch, P; Ellis, LM; Wolff, R; Lenzi, R; Abbruzzese, J; Pazdur, R; Hoff, PM; Allen, P; Brown, T; Skibber, J

Published Date

  • April 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 107 - 112

PubMed ID

  • 11319280

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11319280

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0277-3732

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00000421-200104000-00001


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States