Treatment of rectal adenocarcinoma with endocavitary and external beam radiotherapy: Results for 199 patients with localized tumors

Angel Aumock, Elisa H. Birnbaum, James W. Fleshman, Robert D. Fry, Maria Antoinette Gambacorta, Ira J. Kodner, Robert S. Malyapa, Thomas E. Read, Bruce J. Walz, Robert J. Myerson

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    58 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Endocavitary radiation (RT) provides a conservative alternative to proctectomy. Although most suitable for small, mobile lesions, patients with less favorable tumors are often referred if they are poor surgical candidates. Knowing the extent to which radiation can control such tumors can be an important factor in making clinical decisions. Methods and Materials: One hundred ninety-nine patients, who received endocavitary RT with or without external beam RT (EBRT) during 1981 through 1995, were followed for disease status for a median of 70 months, including deaths from intercurrent causes. In the early years of the study, 21 patients were treated with endocavitary RT alone, the remainder of the patients received pelvic EBRT (usually 45 Gy in 25 fractions) 5-7 weeks before endocavitary RT. Results: Overall, 141 patients (71%) had local control with RT alone. Salvage surgery rendered an additional 20 patients disease free, for an ultimate local control rate of 81%. On multivariate analysis for local control (excluding surgical salvage), the most significant factors were mobility to palpation, use of EBRT, and whether pretreatment debulking of all macroscopic disease had been done (generally a piecemeal, nontransmural procedure). Of 77 cases staged by transrectal ultrasonography, the local control rate with RT alone was 100% for uT1 lesions, 85% (90% with no evidence of disease after salvage) for freely mobile uT2 lesions, and 56% (67% with no evidence of disease after salvage) for uT3 lesions and uT2 lesions that were not freely mobile. Conclusions: Patients with small mobile tumors that are either uT1 or have only a scar after debulking achieve excellent local control with endocavitary RT. About 15% of mobile uT2 tumors fail RT; therefore, careful follow-up is critical. Small uT3 tumors are appropriate for this treatment only if substantial contraindications to proctectomy are present.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-370
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2001


    • Conservative treatment
    • Endocavitary radiotherapy
    • External beam radiotherapy
    • Rectal cancer
    • Transrectal ultrasonography


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