Published online May 15, 2019. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v11.i5.393
Peer-review started: December 27, 2019
First decision: January 11, 2019
Revised: March 16, 2019
Accepted: March 26, 2019
Article in press: March 26, 2019
Published online: May 15, 2019
Preoperative radiochemotherapy is widely used in locally advanced rectal cancer. It can improve local control of rectal cancer. However, some researchers believe it increases the incidence of surgical complications. They doubt its safety. Patients with locally advanced rectal cancer receive three different treatments in our hospital, including long-course radiochemotherapy, short-course radiotherapy, and surgery directly. We can compare their differences in postoperative complications.
To investigate surgical complications caused by different preoperative radiotherapy regimens.
We retrospectively analyzed 1197 patients admitted between 2008 and 2010 with locally advanced rectal cancer. Three hundred and forty-six patients were treated with preoperative long-course radiochemotherapy (25 × 2 Gy) followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) 6–8 wk later, and 259 patients received short-course radiotherapy (10 × 3 Gy) and subsequently TME 7–10 d later. The remaining 592 patients underwent TME alone without neoadjuvant therapy. According to Clavien–Dindo classification, surgical complications were evaluated for up to 30 d after discharge from hospital.
There were no deaths in 30 d in all groups after treatment. The major complications were anastomotic leakage and perineal wound complications. The results suggested that both long-course [odds ratio (OR) = 3.624, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.689–7.775, P = 0.001] and short-course (OR = 5.150, 95%CI: 1.828–14.515, P = 0.002) radiotherapy were associated with anastomotic leakage. Temporary ileostomy was a protective factor for anastomotic leakage (OR = 6.211, 95%CI: 2.525–15.385, P < 0.001). The severity of anastomotic leakage did not increase in patients following preoperative radiotherapy (P = 0.411). Compared with TME alone, short-course radiotherapy was associated with an increase in perineal wound complications (OR = 5.565, 95%CI: 2.203–14.057, P < 0.001), but long-course radiotherapy seemed safe regarding this complication (OR = 1.692, 95%CI: 0.651–4.394, P = 0.280). Although the severity of perineal wound complications increased in patients following short-course radiotherapy (P < 0.001), additional intervention was not necessary.
Radiotherapy increased the incidence but not severity of anastomotic leakage. Short-course radiotherapy was also accompanied with perineal wound complications, but intervention appeared unnecessary to ameliorate the complications.
Core tip: Preoperative radiotherapy is a promising treatment for rectal cancer. Our aim is to investigate surgical complications caused by radiotherapy. Both long-course and short-course radiotherapy increased the incidence of anastomotic leakage but did not affect the severity. Additional ileostomy was an effective method to reduce the risk of anastomotic leakage. Short-course radiotherapy was accompanied with increased incidence of perineal wound complications, but intervention appeared unnecessary to ameliorate the complications.