(searched for: doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2020.08.775)
Cancers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/cancers12123611
Most clinical practice guidelines recommend a selective approach for rectal cancer after clinical staging. In low-risk patients, upfront surgery may be an appropriate option. However, in patients with MRI-defined high-risk features such as extramural vascular invasion, multiple nodal involvement or T4 and/or tumors close to or invading the mesorectal fascia, a more intensive preoperative approach is recommended, which may include neoadjuvant or preoperative chemotherapy. The potential benefits include better compliance than postoperative chemotherapy, a higher pathological complete remission rate, which facilitates a non-surgical approach, and earlier treatment of micrometastatic disease with improved disease-free survival compared to standard preoperative chemoradiation or short-course radiation. Two recently reported phase III randomized trials, RAPIDO and PRODIGE 23, show that adding neoadjuvant chemotherapy to either standard short-course radiation or standard long-course chemoradiation in locally advanced rectal cancer patients reduces the risk of metastasis and significantly prolongs disease-related treatment failure and disease-free survival. This review discusses these potentially practice-changing trials and how they may affect our current understanding of treating locally advanced rectal cancers.