Radiation therapy for rectosigmoid and rectal cancer: results of the 1992-1994 Patterns of Care process survey.
PURPOSE: To determine the US national practice standards for patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum treated in radiation oncology facilities. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A national survey of 57 institutions identified 507 eligible patients who received radiation therapy as a component of their treatment for rectal cancer. A stratified two-stage cluster sampling with simple random sampling at each stage for each stratum was used and on-site surveys were performed. RESULTS: Of the 507 patients, 378 (75%) received postoperative therapy, 110 (22%) received preoperative therapy, 17 (2%) received both preoperative and postoperative therapy, and less than 0.5% received intraoperative radiation alone. To more accurately assess the utilization of modern radiation techniques as well as recommendations of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored, randomized, postoperative, adjuvant combined modality therapy rectal cancer trials into current practice, the analysis was limited to the 243 (48%) patients with tumor, node, and metastasis staging system classification T3 and/or N1-2M0 disease who underwent conventional surgery with negative margins. Although only 7% were treated on a clinical trial, 90% received chemotherapy for a median of 21 weeks. Most were treated with modern radiation treatment techniques. In contrast, techniques to identify and help exclude the small bowel from the radiation field were not routinely used. CONCLUSION: Despite the fact that only 7% of patients with T3 and/or N1-2M0 disease were treated on a clinical trial, such trials appear to have resulted in a positive influence on the standard of practice within the oncology community. Although there are still some deficiencies, the majority of these patients received combined modality therapy and were treated with modern radiation therapy techniques.
Minsky, BD; Coia, L; Haller, DG; Hoffman, J; John, M; Landry, J; Pisansky, TM; Willett, C; Mahon, I; Owen, J; Berkey, B; Katz, A; Hanks, G
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