Adaptive radiation dose escalation in rectal adenocarcinoma: a review
Total mesorectal excision (TME) after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) has offered superior control for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, but can carry a quality of life cost. Fortunately, some patients achieve a complete response after CRT alone without the added morbidity caused by surgery. Efforts to increase fidelity of radiation treatment planning and delivery may allow for escalated doses of radiotherapy (RT) with limited off-target toxicity and elicit more pathological complete responses (pCR) to CRT thereby sparing more rectal cancer patients from surgery. In this review, methods of delivering escalated RT boost above 45–50.4 Gy are discussed including: 3D conformal, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and brachytherapy. Newly developed adaptive boost strategies and imaging modalities used in RT planning and response evaluation such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) are also discussed.