Pathologic response to neoadjuvant treatment in locally advanced rectal cancer and impact on outcome

Mahshid Jalilian, Sidney Davis, Mohammadreza Mohebbi, Bhuvana Sugamaran, Ian W. Porter, Stephen Bell, Satish K. Warrier, Roger Wale

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Downstaging and pathologic complete response (pCR) after chemoradiotherapy (CRT) may improve progression-free survival and overall survival (OS) after curative therapy of locally advanced adenocarcinoma of rectum. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the pathologic response subsequent to neoadjuvant chemoradiation in locally advanced rectal adenocarcinoma and any impact of response on oncological outcome [disease-free survival (DFS), OS]. Methods: A total of 127 patients with histologically-proven rectal adenocarcinoma, locally advanced, were treated with preoperative radiotherapy and concurrent 5-fluorouracil (5 FU), and followed by curative surgery. Pathologic response to neoadjuvant treatment was evaluated by comparing pathologic TN (tumour and nodal) staging (yp) with pre-treatment clinical staging. DFS and OS were compared in patients with: pCR, partial pathologic response and no response to neoadjuvant therapy. Results: 14.96% (19 patients) had a pCR, 58.27% [74] showed downstaging and 26.77% [34] had no change in staging. At follow-up (range, 4-9 years, median 6 years 2 months or 74 months), 17.32% [22] showed recurrence: 15.74% [20] distant metastasis, 1.57% [2] pelvic failure. 10.5% [2] of the patients with pCR showed distant metastasis, none showed local recurrence. In the downstaged group, nine developed distant failure and two had local recurrence (14.86%). Distant failure was seen in 26.47% [9] of those with no response to neoadjuvant treatment. DFS and OS rates for all groups were 82.67% and 88.97% respectively. Patients with pCR showed 89.47% DFS and 94.7% OS. In partial responders, DFS was 85.1% and OS was 90.5%. In non-responders, DFS and OS were 73.5% and 82.3% respectively. Patients with pCR had a significantly greater probability of DFS and OS than non-responders. Rectal cancer-related death was 11.02% [14]: one patient (5.26%) with pCR, 9.47% [7] in the downstaged group and 17.64% [6] of nonresponders. Conclusions: The majority of patients showed some response to neoadjuvant treatment. Findings of this study indicate tumour response to neoadjuvant CRT improves the long-term outcome, with a better result in patients with pCR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-608
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemoradiotherapy (CRT)
  • Histopathology response
  • Outcome
  • Rectal cancer

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