‘Is greater downstaging and tumour regression observed when bowel cancer surgery is delayed to 12 weeks after the completion of chemoreadiotherapy versus 6 weeks?’
The aim of this study, led by Professor Gina Brown and Dr Diana Tait, is to help determine the best time to have surgery after a patient with rectal cancer completes their chemo-radiation therapy (CRT). CRT often shrinks the tumour and results in it being down staged by clinicians. This can allow the surgeon to complete curative surgery or, if the tumour has responded well enough, even avoid surgery altogether. Rectal surgery standardly takes place 6 weeks after CRT completion. Several imaging studies have shown that CRT can continue shrinking the tumour for longer than 6 weeks and therefore down-staging occurs over a longer period of time.
If the cancer has responded well then surgery could potentially be safely delayed or avoided, benefitting the patient. This trial will compare the size of the cancer 6 weeks after finishing CRT and when surgery is delayed to 12 weeks after finishing CRT. This international multi-centre study could help to establish the optimum timing for surgery.
Link to UKCRN.