Patterns of Care for Patients With Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer Treated with Total Neoadjuvant Therapy at Predominately Academic Centers between 2016-2020: An NCDB Analysis

Published:February 04, 2023DOI:


      Total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT) has emerged as the preferred approach for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC), defined as T3/4 or any T with N+ disease. Our objective was to (1) determine the proportion of patients with LARC receiving TNT over time, (2) determine the most common method in which TNT is being delivered, and (3) determine what factors are associated with a greater likelihood of receiving TNT in the United States. Retrospective data was obtained from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) for patients diagnosed with rectal cancer between 2016 and 2020. Patients were excluded if they had M1 disease, T1-2 N0 disease, incomplete staging information, nonadenocarcinoma histology, received RT to a nonrectum site, or received a nondefinitive RT dose. Data were analyzed using linear regression, χ2 test, and binary logistic regression. Of the 26,375 patients included, most patients were treated at an academic facility (94.6%). Five thousand three (19.0%) patients received TNT, and 21,372 (81.0%) patients did not receive TNT. The proportion of patients receiving TNT increased significantly over time, from 6.1% in 2016 to 34.6% in 2020 (slope = 7.36, 95% CI 4.58-10.15, R2 = 0.96, P = .040). The most common TNT regimen was multiagent chemotherapy followed by long-course chemoradiation (73.2% of cases from 2016-2020). There was a significant increase in utilization of short-course RT as part of TNT from 2.8% in 2016 to 13.7% in 2020 (slope = 2.74, 95% CI 0.37-5.11, R2 = 0.82, P = .035). Factors associated with a lower likelihood of TNT usage included age >65, female gender, Black race, and T3 N0 disease. TNT use in the United States has increased significantly from 2016-2020, with approximately 34.6% of patients with LARC receiving TNT in 2020. The observed trend appears to be in line with the recent National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommending TNT as the preferred approach.


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