Published online Nov 27, 2015. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v7.i11.306
Peer-review started: June 29, 2015
First decision: August 16, 2015
Revised: September 15, 2015
Accepted: September 29, 2015
Article in press: September 30, 2015
Published online: November 27, 2015
Core tip: Standard treatment for stage II and IIIrectal cancer includes neoadjuvant chemoradiation followed by radical surgical resection. Recent studies have demonstrated that a select population of patients will achieve a pathological complete response with the absence of residual cancer present after surgical resection. Preliminary attempts to identify those rectal cancer patients with a clinical complete response to neoadjuvant therapy, through various diagnostic modalities, may prevent future patients from having to undergo a very morbid operation.