Article Abstract

Restaging after neoadjuvant chemoradiation in rectal cancers: is histology the key in patient selection?

Authors: Nitin Singhal, Karthik Vallam, Reena Engineer, Vikas Ostwal, Supreeta Arya, Avanish Saklani

Abstract

Background: Neoadjuvant chemoradiation is the standard of care for locally advanced rectal cancer. However, there is no clarity regarding the necessity for restaging scans to rule out systemic progression of disease post chemoradiation with existing literature being divided on the need for the same.
Methods: Data from a prospectively maintained database was retrospectively analysed. All locally advanced rectal cancers (node positive/T4/T3 with threatened or involved CRM) were included. Biopsy proof of adenocarcinoma and CT scan of abdomen and chest were mandatory. Grade of tumor and response to CTRT on restaging magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were documented.
Results: Out of 119 patients subjected to CTRT, 72 underwent definitive total mesorectal excision while 13 patients progressed locoregionally on restaging MR pelvis and 15 other patients progressed systemically while the rest defaulted. Patients with poorly differentiated (PD) cancers were compared to those with well/ moderately differentiated (WMD) tumors. PD tumors had a significantly higher rate of local progression (32.1% vs. 5.6% %, P=0.0011) and systemic progression (35.7% vs. 6.9%, P=0.0008) as compared to WMD tumors. Only one-third (9/28) of PD patients underwent TME while the rest progressed.
Conclusions: Selecting poorly differentiated tumors alone for restaging CECT abdomen and thorax will be a cost effective strategy as the rate of progression is very high. Also patients with PD tumors need to be consulted about the high probability of progression of disease.