In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness and safety of consolidation chemotherapy after initial treatment in locally advanced rectal cancer. Researchers suggested that this treatment is safe and is associated with improved cancer outcomes.
Colorectal cancer is the fifth most common cancer. From all the colorectal cancers, 40% are rectal cancers. Half of the times patients present a locally advanced tumor at diagnostic. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT) followed by surgery is the standard treatment for this type of cancer. However, tumor response occurs slowly. Some studies recommend an interval of 7 to 8 weeks, between CRT and surgery.
Metastasis (spread to other parts of the body) may occur in high-risk patients during this resting period. Therefore, another chemotherapy treatment (consolidation chemotherapy) between CRT and surgery may improve the outcomes of these patients. It is important to research the effects of this consolidation treatment before surgery in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
Methods & findings
This study included 156 patients. These patients were divided into two groups. Group A (76) received a round of consolidation chemotherapy after CRT and surgery. Group B (80) did not receive any treatment in this period.
Patients from group A had a higher tumor response rate (32.8%) compared to group B (16.25%). The 3-year survival without metastasis was significantly higher in group A (81.91%) than in group B (59.66%).
No increased rate of side effects was seen in group A when compared to group B
The bottom line
This study concluded that chemotherapy after CRT and before surgery in patients with advanced rectal cancer improves tumor response and cancer outcomes.
The fine print
This study included a limited number of participants and a short follow-up time. Further studies are needed.
Published By :
Feb 01, 2019
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