Have the changes in treatment of rectal cancer made a significant difference to our patients?

A. B. Benson, José G. Guillem, Bruce D. Minsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The treatment for patients with locally advanced, resectable rectal cancer has evolved over the years. Various combinations and sequences of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and total mesorectal excision (TME)-based surgery are the mainstay of current therapy. Preoperative combined chemoradiation, followed by surgery, is now the preferred treatment strategy, with the majority of patients receiving either infusion fluorouracil (5-FU) or capecitabine (Xeloda) with radiation. Clinical trials with oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)-based neoadjuvant chemoradiation have not shown improvement in the pathologic complete response rate (pCR) compared with 5-FU; however, final data addressing local recurrence rates and disease-free survival are pending.The use of adjuvant chemotherapy following preoperative chemoradiation and surgery has not been optimally defined. Some studies have shown that patients who obtained significant pathologic downstaging after chemoradiation and surgery have improved survival with the use of adjuvant chemotherapy. Since FOLFOX (folinic acid, 5-FU, and oxaliplatin) is the preferred adjuvant chemotherapy regimen for stage III colon cancer based on randomized clinical trial results, FOLFOX is also recommended for rectal cancer patients as an adjuvant therapy approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1329
Number of pages7
JournalOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.)
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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