Combined modality therapy for rectal cancer

Cancer J. May-Jun 2010;16(3):253-61. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181e0761c.


The standard adjuvant treatment for cT3 and/or N+ rectal cancer is preoperative chemoradiation. However, there are many controversies regarding this approach. These include the role of short course radiation, whether postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy necessary for all patients and whether the type of surgery after chemoradiation should be based on the response rate. More accurate imaging techniques and/or molecular markers may help identify patients with positive pelvic nodes to reduce the chance of overtreatment with preoperative therapy. Will more effective systemic agents both improve the results of radiation as well as modify the need for pelvic radiation? These questions and others remain active areas of clinical investigation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Rectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Rectal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Rectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents