In a nutshell
This study investigated the effect of X-ray brachytherapy (XRB) in the treatment of patients with rectal cancer who underwent local surgery. Researchers suggested that XRB is associated with improved outcomes and could be used instead of radical surgery.
Screening programs increased the number of patients being diagnosed with early rectal cancer. The standard treatment is radical surgery (major rectal surgery in which other organs or tissues are also removed). However, this surgery is associated with a high rate of complications and side effects. For that reason, less invasive treatments such as local surgery followed by XRB are being studied.
XRB is a type of radiation therapy that involves the application of a tube through a small opening at the site. Radiation is delivered through this tube to destroy cancer cells.
The effect of XRB after local surgery in patients with early rectal cancer is still not clear.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 180 patients with early rectal cancer. These patients underwent local surgery, XRB and chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
After an average follow-up of 36 months, 169 patients (94%) were still free of local recurrence. Of the 11 patients with recurrences, 5 underwent radical surgery. 8 patients developed metastasis (spread to other parts of the body)
At follow-up, 173 (96%) patients were free of all disease. 94% of patients did not need a stoma bag (an opening in the abdomen to collect waste).
The bottom line
This study concluded that XRB can provide similar outcomes to radical rectal surgery.
The fine print
This study looked back at medical records. Further prospective studies are needed.
Published By :
Feb 11, 2019
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