Short-course RT with delay to surgery recommended as alternative in rectal cancer

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Register to read more


  • All 3 treatment options yield similar oncological results.
  • Long-course radiotherapy with delay prolongs treatment time; postoperative complications were significantly reduced in short-course radiotherapy with delay vs immediate surgery.

Why this matters

  • Optimal radiotherapy fractionation and time between radiotherapy and surgery for rectal cancer remain unresolved.

Key results

  • Cumulative incidences of local recurrence or distant metastases did not differ significantly between the 3 treatment groups.
  • There were also no differences in overall or recurrence-free survival.
  • Acute radiation-induced toxicity occurred in <1% patients after short-course radiotherapy, 7% after short-course radiotherapy with delay, and 5% after long-course radiotherapy with delay.
  • Pooled analysis of short-course radiotherapy regimens demonstrated reduced risk for postoperative complications after short-course radiotherapy with delay.

Study design

  • Multicenter, randomized, noninferiority trial (Stockholm III) allocated pa...