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J Korean Soc Ther Radiol Oncol. 2008 Dec;26(4):213-221. Korean. Original Article.
Lee J , Lee KJ .
Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.

PURPOSE: The objective of this retrospective study was to identify predictive factors for the complete pathologic response and tumor downstaging after preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced rectal cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between the years 2000 and 2008, 39 patients with newly diagnosed rectal cancer without prior evidence of distant metastasis received preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery. The median radiation dose was 50.4 Gy (range, 45~59.4 Gy). Thirty-eight patients received concurrent infusional 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin, while one patient received oral capecitabine twice daily during radiotherapy. RESULTS: A complete pathologic response (CR) was demonstrated in 12 of 39 patients (31%), while T-downstaging was observed in 24 of 39 patients (63%). N-downstaging was observed in 18 of 28 patients (64%), with a positive node in the CT scan or ultrasound. Two patients with clinical negative nodes were observed in surgical specimens. The results from a univariate analysis indicated that the tumor circumferential extent was less than 50% (p=0.031). Moreover, the length of the tumor was less than 5 cm (p=0.004), while the post-treatment carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels were less than or equal to 3.0 ng/mL (p=0.015) and were significantly associated with high pathologic CR rates. The univariate analysis also indicated that the adenocarcinoma (p=0.045) and radiation dose greater than or equal to 50 Gy (p=0.021) were significantly associated with high T-downstaging, while a radiotherapy duration of less than or equal to 42 days (p=0.018) was significantly associated with N-downstaging. The results from the multivariate analysis indicated that the lesser circumferential extent of the tumor (hazard ratio [HR], 0.150; p=0.028) and shorter tumor length (HR, 0.084; p=0.005) independently predicted a higher pathologic CR. The multivariate analysis also indicated that a higher radiation dose was significantly associated with higher T-downstaging (HR, 0.115; p=0.025), while the shorter duration of radiotherapy was significantly associated with higher N-downstaging (HR, 0.028; p=0.010). CONCLUSION: The circumferential extent of the tumor and its length was a predictor for the pathologic CR, while radiation dose and duration of radiotherapy were predictors for tumor downstaging. Hence, these factors may be used to predict outcomes for patients and to develop further treatment guidelines for high-risk patients.

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