European journal of surgical oncology vol:31 issue:9 pages:969-76
AIM: To determine the differences in downstaging, local control (LC), disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) between combined pre-operative chemoradiation and pre-operative radiotherapy alone in the treatment of resectable rectal cancer. METHODS: One hundred and ten patients who underwent pre-operative radiotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy were reviewed. Fifty-seven patients were treated with radiotherapy (30 Gy/3 Gy) alone and 53 patients with chemo-radiotherapy (bolus 5FU+45 Gy/1.8 Gy). The median interval between the end of neo-adjuvant treatment and surgery was 28 and 46 days for the patients treated with radiotherapy alone and chemo-radiotherapy. RESULTS: The groups were homogeneously distributed for all characteristics except for cN-stage with more clinically node positive patients in the combined modality treatment group (47 vs 73%). A significant downstaging for tumour and/or lymph node status was observed in both groups. More ypT0-x-is were observed after chemoradiation than after radiotherapy alone (26 vs 7%; p=0.02). The local control rate at 3 years was 94% for both groups. DFS after radiation and chemoradiation was comparable with a 3-year DFS of 83 and 88%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Both pre-operative schemes have similar outcomes concerning DFS, OS and LC. Tumour downstaging is associated with improved survival.