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29.07.2017 | Original Article – Clinical Oncology | Ausgabe 11/2017

Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 11/2017

Impact of adjuvant chemotherapy after neoadjuvant radio- or radiochemotherapy for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer

Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology > Ausgabe 11/2017
Sven Lichthardt, Lisa Zenorini, Johanna Wagner, Johannes Baur, Alexander Kerscher, Niels Matthes, Caroline Kastner, Jörg Pelz, Volker Kunzmann, Christoph-Thomas Germer, Armin Wiegering
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00432-017-2483-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Due to its primarily extraperitoneal location, potential affection of the anorectal continence and different metastatic behavior the rectal carcinoma (RC) is classified and treated as an independent disease. Over the past few decades various trials have led to improved multimodal therapies (including radiation, chemotherapy and surgery) for locally advanced rectal cancer and significant changes in the management of this disease whereas the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy remains unclear.


Based on a prospective tumor register of the University Hospital of Wuerzburg data of 263 patients having undergone neoadjuvant therapy and surgical resection for locally advanced rectal cancer were retrieved from the Wuerzburg International database (WID) between October 1992 and September 2013 analyzing the overall survival according to the application of an adjuvant therapy.


The cohort consisted of 263 patients with a median age of 65 years (27–89 years), mostly male gender (n = 191; 72.6%) and an ASA performance score of II or III. 143 patients (54.3%) received an adjuvant therapy. Those patients have been significant younger (median 10 years; p < 0.05) and in a better general condition (ASA-score; p < 0.05). The tumor specific overall survival of adjuvant treated patients was significant better (5-years overall-survival 87.4%; p = 0.025) than the surveillance group. In the performed subgroup analysis no significant differences in overall survival according to the kind of neoadjuvant therapy (radiation vs. radiochemotherapy) have been found whereas patients in lower UICC-stages (ypUICC 0 + I) had a significant benefit by receiving a postoperative chemotherapy (p = 0.035).


We considered patients with locally advanced rectal cancer have a significant benefit in overall survival by receiving an adjuvant chemotherapy especially in lower pathological tumor stage (ypUICC 0 + I). Especially because of the heterogeneity of our study population prospective randomized trials are necessary to determine the impact of adjuvant chemotherapy for locally advanced rectal cancer.

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