Preoperative Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer.

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The New England journal of medicine


oregon; chiles


BACKGROUND: Pelvic radiation plus sensitizing chemotherapy with a fluoropyrimidine (chemoradiotherapy) before surgery is standard care for locally advanced rectal cancer in North America. Whether neoadjuvant chemotherapy with fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) can be used in lieu of chemoradiotherapy is uncertain.

METHODS: We conducted a multicenter, unblinded, noninferiority, randomized trial of neoadjuvant FOLFOX (with chemoradiotherapy given only if the primary tumor decreased in size by

RESULTS: From June 2012 through December 2018, a total of 1194 patients underwent randomization and 1128 started treatment; among those who started treatment, 585 were in the FOLFOX group and 543 in the chemoradiotherapy group. At a median follow-up of 58 months, FOLFOX was noninferior to chemoradiotherapy for disease-free survival (hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 0.92; 90.2% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 1.14; P = 0.005 for noninferiority). Five-year disease-free survival was 80.8% (95% CI, 77.9 to 83.7) in the FOLFOX group and 78.6% (95% CI, 75.4 to 81.8) in the chemoradiotherapy group. The groups were similar with respect to overall survival (hazard ratio for death, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.44) and local recurrence (hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.44 to 3.16). In the FOLFOX group, 53 patients (9.1%) received preoperative chemoradiotherapy and 8 (1.4%) received postoperative chemoradiotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who were eligible for sphincter-sparing surgery, preoperative FOLFOX was noninferior to preoperative chemoradiotherapy with respect to disease-free survival. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; PROSPECT number, NCT01515787.).

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Digestive Health

Clinical Institute