Purpose: Nonoperative management with short-course radiation therapy (SCRT) as a component of definitive therapy for oligometastatic rectal cancer has not been previously reported. This single-institution retrospective analysis evaluates treatment with SCRT in combination with chemotherapy (SCRT-CTX) with nonoperative intent for patients with a locoregional clinical complete response (cCR). Methods and Materials: Thirty-six patients with newly diagnosed oligometastatic rectal cancer were treated with SCRT-CTX between January 1, 2018, and May 31, 2020. Digital rectal examination, endoscopy, and imaging (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging) were used to determine cCR. Medically operable patients without cCR underwent surgical resection of the primary rectal tumor. Patients with cCR who experienced a local failure received salvage surgery. Rates of hospitalization related to primary tumor disease and pelvic symptoms were reviewed. Overall survival (OS) and progression free survival were evaluated. Results: Seventeen percent (6/36) of patients achieved cCR after SCRT-CTX. Eleven percent (4) of patients experienced a local failure. OS for all patients was 83% (71%-96%) at 12 months and 57% (41%-80%) at 24 months. Progression free survival for all patients was 56% (41%-74%) at 12 months and 10% (3.1%-35%) at 24 months. On multivariate analysis, having received more than 4 months of chemotherapy (hazard ratio = 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.06-0.71; P = .01) and definitive treatment of metastatic site (hazard ratio = 0.17; 95% confidence interval, 0.05-0.66; P = .01) predicted for improved OS. The number of patients requiring hospitalization due to obstruction (8/36, 22%), rectal bleeding (5/36, 14%), or need for permanent ostomy placement (5/36, 14%) was low, and there was a decrease in endorsement of obstructive symptoms and rectal bleeding after completion of SCRT-CTX. Conclusions: SCRT-CTX with nonoperative intent for patients with a locoregional cCR may be a reasonable treatment option for patients with newly diagnosed oligometastatic rectal adenocarcinoma and demonstrates excellent control of pelvic disease and symptoms. Increased duration of chemotherapy within the treatment paradigm may improve oncologic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e406-e414
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


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