Research Papers:

This article has an addendum. Addendum in: Oncotarget. 2023; 14:778-778.

Effectiveness of radiotherapy for local control in T3N0 rectal cancer managed with total mesorectal excision: a meta-analysis

Michael Jonathan Kucharczyk _, Andrew Bang, Michael C. Tjong, Stefania Papatheodorou and Jesus C. Fabregas

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Oncotarget. 2022; 13:1109-1119. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28280

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Michael Jonathan Kucharczyk1,2, Andrew Bang3, Michael C. Tjong4, Stefania Papatheodorou5 and Jesus C. Fabregas6

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Nova Scotia Cancer Centre, Halifax, NS B3H 1V7, Canada

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 1V7, Canada

3 Department of Surgery, BC Cancer – Vancouver, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E6, Canada

4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON M5T 1W6, Canada

5 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA

6 Department of Medicine, University of Florida Health Cancer Center, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA

Correspondence to:

Michael Jonathan Kucharczyk, email: [email protected]

Keywords: radiotherapy; meta-analysis; systematic review; rectal cancer; total mesorectal excision

Received: July 12, 2022     Accepted: September 22, 2022     Published: October 08, 2022

Copyright: © 2022 Kucharczyk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Introduction: The total mesorectal excision (TME) significantly improved rectal cancer outcomes. Radiotherapy’s benefit in T3N0 rectal cancer patients managed with TME has not been clearly demonstrated. A systematic review and meta-analysis were undertaken to determine whether radiotherapy altered the risk of locoregional recurrence (LR) in T3N0 rectal cancer patients managed with a TME.

Materials and Methods: Studies indexed on PubMed or Embase were systematically searched from inception to October 18, 2020. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were observed for the literature search, study screening, and data extraction; the Newcastle Ottawa Scale evaluated bias; Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation Working Group system evaluated certainty; and all were performed independently by at least two investigators. Studies that reported LR data specific to T3N0 rectal cancer patients managed with TME, treated with and without radiotherapy, were included. Data was pooled using a random-effects model. Meta-analyses of the relative risk of local recurrence were conducted.

Results: Five retrospective cohort studies involving 932 unique patients reported LR outcomes; no prospective studies met eligibility criteria. Median follow-up ranged from 38.4–78 months. Adjuvant radiotherapy was provided in 3 studies. Chemotherapy was delivered and reported in 4 studies, providing both concurrent and adjuvant chemotherapy. A non-significant LR reduction with radiotherapy alongside TME was estimated, mean relative risk (RR) 0.63 (95% Confidence Interval 0.31–1.29; I2 = 41.8%).

Conclusions: A non-significant LR benefit with radiotherapy’s addition was estimated. Meta-analysis of exclusively retrospective cohort studies was concerning for biased results. Adequately powered randomized trials are warranted.

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