The aim of this study was to report the clinical results of reduced pelvic field radiotherapy (RT), excluding the anastomotic site, after total mesorectal excision in selected patients with rectal cancer. Between 2011 and 2014, 99 patients underwent upfront surgery for clinically less-advanced tumors but were finally diagnosed as pT3/N+. Among them, 50 patients with mid-upper rectal cancer who received postoperative RT with a reduced pelvic field were included in this retrospective review. This group was composed of patients with high seated tumors, complete resection with a clear circumferential resection margin, and no complication during surgery. We investigated treatment outcomes, toxicity and the effect of RT-field reduction on organs-at risk in 5 randomly selected patients. During the median follow-up period of 42 months (range: 15-59 months), tumors recurred in 9 patients (18%). The 3-year overall and disease-free survival were 98% and 81%, respectively. Distant metastasis was the dominant failure pattern (n = 8, 16%), while no recurrences occurred at or near anastomotic sites. No anastomotic complications were found on pelvic examination, images and/or colonoscopy. Reported acute and late RT-related toxicities were mostly mild to moderate, with only small numbers of Grade 3 toxicities. None of the patients developed Grade 4-5 acute or late toxicity. With a caudally reduced field, 64% reduction in absolute anastomotic exposure at the maximum dose was achieved compared with the traditional whole-pelvic field (P = 0.008). The reduced pelvic field RT was able to minimize late anastomotic complication without increasing its recurrence in selected patients with mid-upper rectal cancer in the postoperative setting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis