Preoperative chemoradiation in fixed distal rectal cancer: Dose time factors for pathological complete response

Mohammed Mohiuddin, William F. Regine, William J. John, Patrick F. Hagihara, Patrick C. McGrath, Daniel E. Kenady, Gerald Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Purpose: Preoperative chemoradiation is being utilized extensively in the treatment of rectal cancer. However, a variety of dose time factors in both delivery of chemotherapy and irradiation remain to be established. This study was undertaken to examine the impact of dose time factors on pathological complete response (pCR) rates following preoperative chemoradiation for fixed rectal cancer. Methods and Materials: Thirty-three patients with fixed rectal cancers were treated with combined 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy and pelvic radiation. Twenty-one patients received bolus 5-FU during the first 3-5 days of radiation and repeated on days 28-33 of their radiation treatment. Twelve patients were treated with continuous infusion (CI) 5-FU, 225 mg/m2 for the duration of the pelvic radiation. Fifteen patients received a planned total radiation dose of 45 to 50 Gy and 18 patients received a dose of 55 to 60 Gy. Surgical resection was then carried out 6-8 weeks after completion of treatment. Results: Diarrhea was the most frequent acute toxicity. Grade 3 diarrhea was observed in 6 patients requiring treatment interruption and was not related to the chemotherapy regimen. There was no Grade 4 or 5 toxicity. pCR was observed in 2 of 21 (10%) patients treated with bolus 5-FU as compared to 8 of 12 (67%) for patients treated with CI (p = 0.002). pCR were observed in 8 of 18 (44%) patients receiving radiation dose ≥ 5500 cGy as compared to 2 of 15 (13%) patients treated to a dose ≤ 5000 cGy (p = 0.05). In the high-dose radiation (≥ 5500 cGy) group, a significant difference in pCR rate was observed in patients treated with CI, 8 of 12 (67%) (p = 0.017) as compared with bolus 5-FU (0 of 6). There was no significant difference in operative morbidity or in wound healing between patients treated with bolus 5-FU or CI or within the groups treated with low or high doses of radiation. Three patients have developed local recurrence at 14 and 24 months, two in the low-dose group treated with bolus 5-FU and one patient in the CVI group. The overall 5-year survival for the whole group is 71%. Conclusion: Dose intensity of 5-FU and dose of radiation correlate significantly with the likelihood of achieving a pCR. Continuous infusion 5-FU (CI) and a preoperative radiation dose of 5500 cGy or higher can achieve pCR rates of ~50%, even in fixed cancers of the rectum. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-888
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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