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Posted by on Apr 1, 2018 in Colorectal cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the optimal time to start chemotherapy after colon surgery. Researchers suggested that patients should start chemotherapy within 8 weeks after surgery.

Some background

The recommended treatment for stage 3 colon cancer is surgery followed by chemotherapy. This reduces the risk of recurrence (when the cancer comes back) and death. However, the optimal time to initiate chemotherapy after surgery is not clear for stage 3 colon cancer.

Methods & findings

The objective of this study was to evaluate the optimal time for chemotherapy after surgery.

Information on a total of 18,491 patients with stage 3 colon cancer who underwent surgery were included.

746 patients received chemotherapy within 4 weeks after surgery, 6165 patients within 5-8 weeks, 1883 within 9-12 weeks, 466 within 13-16 and 462 within 17 weeks or more. 8769 patients did not receive any chemotherapy.

A decreased risk of mortality was observed in patients who received treatment within 4 weeks after surgery. Additionally, the survival benefit decreased with the delay in the timing of chemotherapy of more than 4 weeks.

Delayed chemotherapy (after 9 weeks) was associated with a 22% increased risk of a worse overall survival. Compared to the patients who did not receive treatment, patients who started after more than 21 weeks did not achieve an improved survival.

Patients with post-surgery complications, such as cardiac disease, had an increased risk of a 4 to 11 weeks delay in chemotherapy. Other complications associated with this risk were ostomy infection (infection of the opening surgically made for discharge of body waste), shock and septicemia (blood infection).

The bottom line

This study showed that stage 3 colon cancer patients should receive post-surgery chemotherapy within 8 weeks.

Published By :

BMC cancer

Date :

Mar 01, 2018

Original Title :

Impact of timing of adjuvant chemotherapy on survival in stage III colon cancer: a population-based study.

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