Purpose: When local recurrent rectal cancer is diagnosed without signs of metastases, a potentially curative resection can be performed. This study was designed to compare the results of preoperative radiotherapy followed by surgery with surgery only. Methods: Between 1985 and 2003, 117 patients with recurrent rectal cancer were prospectively entered in our database. Ninety-two patients were suitable for resection with curative intent. Preoperative radiation with a median dosage of 50 Gy was performed in 59 patients; 33 patients did not receive preoperative radiotherapy. The median age of the patients was 66 and 62 years, respectively. Results: The median follow-up of patients alive for the total group was 16 (range, 4-156) months. Tumor characteristics were comparable between the two groups. Complete resections were performed in 64% of the patients who received preoperative radiation and 45% of the nonirradiated patients. A complete response after radiotherapy was found in 10% of the preoperatively irradiated patients (n = 6). There were no differences in morbidity and reintervention rate between the two groups. Local control after preoperative radiotherapy was statistically significantly higher after three and five years (p = 0,036). Overall survival and metastases-free survival were not different in both groups. Complete response to preoperative radiotherapy was predictive for an improved survival. Conclusions: Preoperative radiotherapy for recurrent rectal cancer results in a higher number of complete resections and an improved local control compared with patients treated without radiotherapy. Preoperative radiotherapy should be standard treatment for patients with recurrent rectal cancer.

, , ,
doi.org/10.1007/s00053-006-6001-6, hdl.handle.net/1765/68359
Department of Surgery

Vermaas, M, de Wilt, J.H.W, Ferenschild, F.T.J, Nuyttens, J.J.M.E, Marinelli, A.W, Wiggers, T, … Eggermont, A.M.M. (2006). Preoperative radiotherapy improves outcome in recurrent rectal cancer. Colo-Proctology, 28(2), 85–96. doi:10.1007/s00053-006-6001-6