Neoadjuvant external beam radiation and proctectomy for adenocarcinoma of the rectum

Thomas E. Read, Olajungu A. Ogunbiyi, James W. Fleshman, Elisa H. Birnbaum, Robert D. Fry, Robert J. Myerson, Ira J. Kodner

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    33 Scopus citations


    PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine the survival rate, local failure, and perioperative morbidity in patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum undergoing curative proctectomy who were felt to have transmural disease on preoperative assessment. Eighty-nine percent of these patients were treated with preoperative external beam radiotherapy. METHODS: The records of 191 consecutive patients undergoing abdominal surgical procedures for primary treatment of rectal cancer were reviewed. The product-limit method (Kaplan-Meier) was used to analyze survival rate and tumor recurrence. RESULTS: One patient was excluded from survival analysis because of incomplete record of tumor stage. The study population comprised 109 males and 81 females, median age 64 (range, 33-91) years. Curative resection was performed in 152 of these 190 patients (80 percent), including low anterior resection with coloproctostomy or coloanal anastomosis (n = 103), abdominoperineal resection (n = 44), Hartmann's procedure (n = 4), and pelvic exenteration (n = 1). Mean follow-up of patients undergoing curative resection was 96 ± 48 months. Palliative procedures were performed in 38 of 190 patients (20 percent). Perioperative mortality was 0.5 percent (1/190). Complications occurred in 64 patients (34 percent). The anastomotic leak rate was 4 percent (5/128). Disease-free five-year survival rate by pathologic stage was as follows: Stage I, 90 percent; Stage II, 85 percent; Stage III, 54 percent; Stage IV, 0 percent; and no residual tumor, 90 percent. Of the 152 patients treated with curative resection, disease-free survival rate was 80 percent at five years. Preoperative external beam radiation was administered to 135 of these 152 patients (89 percent). Tumor recurred in 32 of 152 patients (21 percent) treated with curative resection. The predominant pattern of recurrence was distant failure only. Kaplan-Meier overall local recurrence (local and local plus distant) at five years was 6.6 percent. The local recurrence rate paralleled tumor stage: Stage I, 0 percent; Stage II, 6 percent; Stage III, 20 percent; and no residual tumor, 0 percent. CONCLUSION: Preoperative external beam radiotherapy and attention to mesorectal dissection can achieve low local recurrence and excellent long-term survival rate in patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum. Moreover, these goals can be obtained with low morbidity and mortality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1778-1789
    Number of pages12
    JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


    • Adenocarcinoma
    • Cancer
    • Local recurrence
    • Neoadjuvant
    • Preoperative
    • Radiation
    • Rectal
    • Rectum
    • Survival


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