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The outcome of non-operative treatment for rectal cancer patients who had been cCR after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy

Seung-Seop Yeom, Soo Young Lee, Chang Hyun Kim, Young Jin Kim, Taek-Keun Nam, Hyeong Rok Kim
Asian Journal of Surgery 2019 April 4

BACKGROUND: Among rectal cancer patients, some of good responders after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) are considered for non-operative treatments to avoid postoperative morbidities and permanent stoma. However, oncologic feasibility of non-operative treatment has not been fully understood.

METHODS: From 2008 to 2017, we retrospectively reviewed patient's records who had lower or mid rectal cancer and diagnosed to clinical complete response by magnetic resonance imaging after nCRT. Clinical differences and oncologic outcomes were compared among Radical surgery (RS), Local excision (LE) and Wait-and-see (WS) group.

RESULTS: Number of 129, 25, 15 patients included to RS, LE, WS groups. Local recurrence was frequent type of recurrence in both of LE and WS group (RS; 31.3%, LE; 80%, WS; 66.7%), and many patients in WS group omitted salvage treatment (RS; 75%, LE; 100%, WS; 33.3%). 5-years local-recurrence/disease-free survival rate (LRFS, DFS) between RS and LE were similar between each group, but WS showed significantly inferior outcomes than that of RS (LRFS; p = 0.001, DFS; p = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, WS protocol (OR; 7.163, 95% CI; 1.995-25.715) and cT4 stage (OR; 8.206, 95% CI; 1.596-42.198) were independent factors for LRFS.

CONCLUSIONS: Wait-and-see group showed high rate of rejection of salvage treatments for recurrence, and poor oncologic outcomes. However, recent low-level evidences reported favorable outcome of WS protocol when salvage treatment was followed after recurrence. It seems that the application of WS protocol should be postponed until the results of randomized-controlled trials are available. Local excision seems to be good alternative option to radical surgery when salvage treatment is followed.


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