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Late patient-reported toxicity after preoperative radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy in nonresectable rectal cancer: Results from a randomized phase III study
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2011 (English)In: International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, ISSN 0360-3016, Vol. 81, no 4, 1017-1024 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is superior to radiotherapy (RT) in locally advanced rectal cancer, but the survival gain is limited. Late toxicity is, therefore, important. The aim was to compare late bowel, urinary, and sexual functions after CRT or RT.

Methods and Materials: Patients (N = 207) with nonresectable rectal cancer were randomized to preoperative CRT or RT (2 Gy x 25 +/- 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin). Extended surgery was often required. Self-reported late toxicity was scored according to the LENT SOMA criteria in a structured telephone interview and with questionnaires European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30), International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), and sexual function -vaginal changes questionnaire (SVQ).

Results: Of the 105 patients alive in Norway and Sweden after 4 to 12 years of follow-up, 78 (74%) responded. More patients in the CRT group had received a stoma (73% vs. 52%, p = 0.09). Most patients without a stoma (7 of 12 in CRT group and 9 of 16 in RT group) had incontinence for liquid stools or gas. No stoma and good anal function were seen in 5 patients (11%) in the CRT group and in 11 (30%) in the RT group (p = 0.046). Of 44 patients in the CRT group, 12 (28%) had had bowel obstruction compared with 5 of 33 (15%) in the RT group (p = 0.27). One-quarter of the patients reported urinary incontinence. The majority of men had severe erectile dysfunction. Few women reported sexual activity during the previous month. However, the majority did not have concerns about their sex life.

Conclusions: Fecal incontinence and erectile dysfunction are frequent after combined treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer. There was a clear tendency for the problems to be more common after CRT than after RT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 81, no 4, 1017-1024 p.
Keyword [en]
Chemoradiotherapy (CRT), Nonresectable, Radiotherapy (RT), Rectal cancer, Late toxicity
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-162685DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.07.007ISI: 000296823600017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-162685DiVA: diva2:462510
Available from: 2011-12-07 Created: 2011-12-05 Last updated: 2011-12-07Bibliographically approved

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