To investigate the importance of adjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer (≥ cT3 or N+) staged ypT0-2 ypN0 on final histological work-up after neoadjuvant chemoradiation and radical resection.
The clinical course of patients with rectal cancer and ypT0-2 ypN0 stages after neoadjuvant chemoradiation and radical resection was analyzed from 1999 to 2012. Patients were divided into two groups depending on whether adjuvant chemotherapy was administered or not. Overall survival, distant metastases, and local recurrence were compared between both groups.
Fifty-four patients with adjuvant (ACT) and 50 patients without adjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) after neoadjuvant chemoradiation followed by radical resection for rectal cancer were included in the analysis. Mean follow-up was 68 ± 33.7 months. One patient without adjuvant chemotherapy and none in the ACT group developed a local recurrence. Five patients in the NACT group and three patients in the ACT group had distant recurrences. Median disease-free survival for all patients was 65.5 ± 34.5 months. Multivariate analysis showed adjuvant chemotherapy to be the most relevant factor for disease-free and overall survival. Patients staged ypT2 ypN0 showed a significantly better disease-free survival after application of adjuvant chemotherapy. Disease-free survival in ypT0-1 ypN0 patients showed no correlation to the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy.
Administration of adjuvant chemotherapy after neoadjuvant chemoradiation and radical resection in rectal cancer improved disease-free and overall survival of patients with ypT0-2 ypN0 tumor stages in our study. In particular, ypT2 ypN0 patients seem to profit from adjuvant treatment.