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Radiation delays surgery and reduces survival in rectal cancer

OCTOBER 25, 2017
Clinical Congress Daily Highlights, Wednesday First Edition

Although National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend surgical resection of stage I rectal cancers, neoadjuvant therapy is increasingly used nationally, especially in young males with lower incomes. A study led by Kristina Go of the University of Florida in Gainesville finds that neoadjuvant therapy in these patients not only departs from guidelines but it significantly delays definitive surgery and is associated with reduced overall survival.

Using the National Cancer Database, researchers analyzed 41,390 patients diagnosed with stage I rectal cancer who underwent resection from 2004-2014. The use of neoadjuvant radiation increased 1.2 percent a year over that time, but did not result in a less extensive surgical resection regardless of surgical approach. Furthermore, neoadjuvant radiation delayed time from diagnosis to surgery and was associated with decreased median survival from 65 months to 60.8 months, regardless of surgical procedure.

Additional Information:
The Scientific Forum presentation, Neoadjuvant Radiation in Stage I Rectal Cancer: Worse outcomes?, was held October 25 at the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Diego, CA. Program, webcast and audio information is available online at

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