Adjuvant postoperative radiation therapy for rectal adenocarcinoma.
From October 1975 to August 1988, 261 patients at high risk for local recurrence after curative resection of rectal carcinoma underwent high-dose postoperative irradiation. Patients received 45 Gy by a 4-field box usually followed by a boost to 50.4 Gy or higher when small bowel could be excluded from the reduced field. Since January 1986, patients also received 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) for 3 consecutive days during the first and last week of radiotherapy. Five-year actuarial local control and disease-free survival decreased with increasing stage of disease; patients with Stage B2 and B3 disease had local control rates of 83% and 87% and disease-free survivals of 55% and 74%, respectively. In patients with Stage C1 through C3 tumors, local control rates ranged from 76% to 23%, and disease-free survivals ranged from 62% to 10%, respectively. For patients with Stage C disease, disease-free survival decreased progressively with increasing lymph node involvement, but local control was independent of the extent of lymph node involvement. For each stage of disease, local control and disease-free survival did not correlate with the dose of pelvic irradiation. Preliminary data from this study suggest a trend toward improved local control for patients with Stage B2, C1, and C2 tumors who receive 5-FU for 3 consecutive days during the first and last weeks of irradiation compared with patients who do not receive 5-FU. Current prospective randomized studies are addressing questions regarding the optimum administration of chemotherapy with pelvic irradiation for patients following resection of rectal carcinoma.
Willett, CG; Tepper, JE; Kaufman, DS; Shellito, PC; Eliseo, R; Convery, K; Wood, WC
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