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Optimal Interval to Surgery After Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy in Rectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:October 25, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2017.10.012

      Abstract

      This study aimed to evaluate the influence of a waiting interval of ≥ 8 weeks between the end of preoperative neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) and surgery on the outcomes of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. We conducted a comprehensive literature review of retrospective and prospective studies from PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases to investigate the length of the preoperative nCRT–surgery waiting interval and outcomes in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. The primary outcome measure was pathologic complete response (pCR) rate. Secondary outcome measures included overall survival, disease-free survival, operative time, and the incidence of local recurrence, postoperative complications, anastomotic leakage, and sphincter-preserving surgery. Standardized mean differences and risk ratios were calculated. Thirteen studies involving 19,652 patients were included. The meta-analysis demonstrated that pCR was significantly increased in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer and a waiting interval of ≥ 8 weeks between preoperative nCRT and surgery compared to a waiting interval of < 8 weeks, or a waiting interval of > 8 weeks compared to ≤ 8 weeks (risk ratio = 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.35; P < .0001). There were no significant differences in overall survival, disease-free survival, operative time, or incidence of local recurrence, postoperative complications, or sphincter-preserving surgery. This study revealed that performing surgery after a waiting interval of ≥ 8 weeks after the end of preoperative nCRT is safe and efficacious for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, significantly improving pCR without increasing operative time or incidence of postoperative complications, compared to a waiting interval of ≤ 8 weeks.

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