Adjuvant therapy of cancers of the colon and rectum

Surg Clin North Am. 2002 Oct;82(5):1035-58. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6109(02)00041-5.


Important advances have been made in our understanding of the role of adjuvant therapy for colorectal cancer. Current standard 5FU-based regimens have been convincingly shown to reduce the incidence of recurrences and to prolong overall survival in patients with resected stage III colon cancer. Colon cancer patients with stage II disease have a better-overall prognosis than those with stage III; however, the relative merits of adjuvant treatment in these patients remains controversial. Combined chemotherapy plus radiation therapy is currently the standard adjuvant approach for stage II and III rectal cancer patients. Despite the advances that have been made, far too many patients with resectable colorectal cancer ultimately relapse and die of their disease. There remains a pressing need for continued development of improved adjuvant treatments. Participation of eligible patients in clinical trials must continue to be actively encouraged. Only in this way will we be able to continue to build and expand on the progress that has been made thus far.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents