Radiat Oncol J.  2021 Jun;39(2):83-90. 10.3857/roj.2021.00108.

Current approaches in intensification of long-course chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer: a review

  • 1Radiation Oncology Research Center, Cancer Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Institute, Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Rectal cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the world. In many countries, the current standard of care is long-course chemoradiation (CRT), followed by total mesorectal excision. Some efforts have been made by intensifying radiation or chemotherapy components of the neoadjuvant therapy to further decrease the local recurrence and augment surgery’s feasibility and improve the oncological outcomes. This paper reviews recent intensified neoadjuvant interventions in locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) in terms of efficacy and treatment-related toxicity. Many maneuvers have been made so far to improve the oncological outcomes of rectal cancer with intensified neoadjuvant long-course CRT. Some of these approaches seem compelling and deserve further study, while some have just increased the treatment-related toxicities without evident benefits. Those endeavors with greater pathological complete response than the standard of care may make us await the long-term results on survival rates and chronic treatment-related toxicity. After introduction of neoadjuvant CRT for LARC there have been many efforts to improve its outcomes. Here, this study gathered most of these efforts that intensified the neoadjuvant therapy with some being promising and some being futile.


Radiotherapy; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Rectal cancer; Neoadjuvant therapy; Chemoradiation
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