In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness and safety of radiotherapy in patients with metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) colorectal cancer (mCRC). Researchers suggested that radiotherapy could be a safe option for the treatment of these patients.
Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer. At the time of diagnosis, nearly 15% of patients have metastasis (MT). The liver and the lung are the most common sites. Prior studies showed that lung or liver surgery is associated with increased long-term survival. However, only a few patients are eligible for surgery due to limitations such as tumor site. Therefore, non-surgical therapies have been considered to treat these patients.
Radiotherapy might be a safe option for patients with inoperable mCRC. However, prior studies investigating radiotherapy have conflicting results. Therefore, more studies are necessary to investigate the effects of radiotherapy in these patients.
Methods & findings
The records of 40 patients with a total of 57 liver or lung MT treated with radiotherapy were included. 50% of patients also received chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Overall survival (OS; time from treatment to death by any cause) and progression-free survival (PFS; time from treatment to cancer progression) were assessed. The average follow-up time was 34 months.
Average OS was 30 months and PFS was 11 months. The 1-year local control (complete disappearance of the tumor at the primary site) rates were 63.2%, the 2-year was 24.6% and the 5-year 16.9%. Patients with MT that occurred more than 6 months after diagnosis had a longer OS (41 months) then MT diagnosed within the first 6 months.
All patients tolerated well the radiation treatment, with no treatment-related death. The number of MT and simultaneous liver and lung MT were potential survival predictors.
The bottom line
This study determined that radiation therapy improves cancer outcomes in patients with inoperable mCRC.
The fine print
This study had a limited number of participants who received varying doses of radiotherapy. Further studies with a greater number of participants are necessary.
Published By :
Oct 01, 2018
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