Radiation therapy for rectal cancer
Radiotherapy (RT) has remained an important pillar in the multi-modality management of rectal cancer. Adjuvant RT with concurrent chemotherapy (chemo-RT) was once the standard of care for locally advanced rectal cancer, but with time, that has now changed and neoadjuvant chemo-RT followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) surgery is the new standard. Alternatively, neoadjuvant RT alone remains an option and clinicians are tasked to choose between the two. In an era of personalised oncological management, it is unsurprising that the treatment for rectal cancer is following suit and upcoming trials are studying ways to improve outcomes and minimise toxicity for patients while tailoring treatments specific to each patient’s tumour. We review the evolution of the role of RT in rectal cancer and look forward to what the future holds.