BACKGROUND: Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by total mesorectal excision has improved the outcome of locally advanced rectal carcinoma.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify independent prognosis factors of disease recurrence in a group of patients treated with this approach.
DESIGN AND PATIENTS: This study was retrospective in design. Data from patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who had completed treatment from 2000 to 2010 were reviewed.
SETTINGS: The analysis was performed in a tertiary referral center.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes measured were the recurrence risk factors.
RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 228 patients; 69.3% of them were men, and median age was 59 years. Stage III rectal cancer was found in 64.9% of patients. The most frequently administered therapy was concurrent capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and 7-field radiotherapy, followed by 3-field radiotherapy and fluoropyrimidines. After a median follow-up of 49 months, 23.7% of the patients experienced disease recurrence: 2.6% had local recurrence, 21.1% had distant metastases, and 0.5% had both. Factors significantly correlated with recurrence risk in multivariate logistic regression were y-pathological stage (III vs I/II: OR = 2.51), tumor regression grade (1/2 vs 3+/4: OR = 3.34; 3 vs 3+/4: OR = 1.20), and low rectal location (OR = 2.36). The only independent prognosis factor for liver metastases was tumor regression grade (1/2 vs 3+/4: OR = 4.67; 3 vs 3+/4: OR = 1.41), whereas tumor regression grade (1–2 vs 3+/4: OR = 5.5; 3 vs 3+/4: OR = 1.84), low rectal location (OR = 3.23), and previous liver metastasis (OR = 7.73) predicted lung recurrence.
LIMITATIONS: This is a single institutional experience, neoadjuvant combined therapy is not homogeneous, and the analysis has been performed in a retrospective manner.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with low third locally advanced rectal cancer with a poor response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (high y-pathological stage or low tumor regression grade) are at high risk of recurrence. Intense surveillance and the design of alternative therapeutic approaches aimed to lower the distant failure rate seem warranted.