Author(s): Haustermans K, Debucquoy A, Lambrecht M
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Abstract The last decades have been characterized by tremendous improvements in the treatment of rectal cancer. Based on the evidence gathered in these years, the standard treatment of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer has now become preoperative chemoradiation (CRT) followed by total mesorectal excision. Although the locoregional control with this treatment regimen is quite favorable for the majority of the patients, there is still room for further improvement. For those patients with a good response to preoperative chemoradiation (CRT), extensive surgery could be avoided and replaced by minimal invasive surgery or no surgery at all. To date however, the only way to ascertain a complete remission is pathologic examination of the resection specimen. Early response prediction of the tumor to preoperative CRT is essential for further selection of patients who could be spared invasive surgery. This could be achieved by assessing molecular markers present in the tumor tissue and blood of the patients or by non invasive functional imaging before and during preoperative treatment. For those patients with a less favorable response, treatment intensification might be the way to go. This could be accomplished by dose painting on resistant tumor regions or by the addition of molecular targeted agents to the standard treatment. In this article, we review the current standard of care and the remaining challenges in the treatment of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Radiother Oncol
and referenced in Atherosclerosis: Open Access