In a nutshell
This study investigated the survival outcomes in patients with rectal cancer after surgery with and without radiation therapy (RT). Researchers suggested that RT after surgery is associated with improved outcomes.
Rectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Between 15 to 20% of patients present metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) disease at diagnosis. The standard treatment used to be chemotherapy and palliative care (special care for the terminally ill). However, new therapies have shown to improve the survival of inoperable patients by making their tumors operable.
Prior studies showed that surgery increases the survival of these patients by an average of 10 months. However, this study was performed before all the new recent therapies. It is also not known whether radiation therapy before surgery improves surgery outcomes.
It is still not clear how surgery with or without radiation therapy improves survival in patients with metastatic rectal cancer.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 4051 patients with stage 4 rectal cancer. All these patients underwent surgery with (1882) and without (2169) radiation therapy. The average follow-up period was 32.3 months.
The average survival was 46.3 months in the radiotherapy group and 35.3 in surgery only group. The 5-year overall survival was 24.8% for surgery alone and 39.6% for surgery and radiation. Patients who received radiation therapy and surgery had a 27.8% improvement in the odds of a better survival.
The bottom line
This study concluded that surgery and radiation therapy is associated with improved overall survival in patients with advanced rectal cancer.
The fine print
This study was based on medical records. Some information might have been incomplete. This might affect the results.
Published By :
Clinical Colorectal Cancer
Jun 01, 2019
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