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Posted by on Oct 13, 2019 in Colorectal cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effectiveness of surgery followed by chemotherapy without chemoradiotherapy (CRT) before surgery to treat rectal cancer. Researchers suggested that this treatment improves the outcomes of these patients. 

Some background

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. The standard treatment is surgery, chemotherapy (XELOX or FOLFOX) and radiation therapy (CRT). CRT  is used before and after rectal surgery to prevent a recurrence. However, effectiveness studies with patients who only received CRT after surgery (and not before) are very limited. 

Therefore, the effectiveness of XELOX (oxaliplatin and capecitabine) chemotherapy after (not before) rectal cancer surgery remains unknown.

Methods & findings

This study included information about 107 patients with stage 2 (8) and 3 (99) rectal cancer. These patients did not receive CRT before surgery. They were treated with XELOX after surgery. The 3-year disease-free survival (DFS; time from treatment to disease progression) was measured. The average follow-up was 49.3 months. 

The 3-year DFS was 70.1%. 33 patients (31%) had a recurrence, most commonly in the lungs (16 patients), rectum (9) and liver (7). 

Common side effects were low blood cell counts. However, most of these were mild and moderate. Severe side effects occurred in less than 10% of patients.

The bottom line

This study concluded that XELOX after surgery without CRT before rectal cancer surgery improves disease progression in patients with rectal cancer.

The fine print

This study did not have a control group for comparison. Further studies are needed.   

Published By :

BMC cancer

Date :

Sep 18, 2019

Original Title :

Postoperative XELOX therapy for patients with curatively resected high-risk stage II and stage III rectal cancer without preoperative chemoradiation: a prospective, multicenter, open-label, single-arm phase II study.

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