Disparities in neoadjuvant radiation dosing for treatment of rectal cancer

Am J Surg. 2020 Oct;220(4):987-992. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2020.01.016. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Background: Certain patients are less likely to undergo appropriate cancer treatment, worsening their overall cancer survival. The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors associated with inadequate neoadjuvant radiation for rectal cancer.

Methods: The National Cancer Database was queried for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received neoadjuvant radiation 2006-2014. Adequate radiation was considered to be 4,500-5,040 cGy. Demographic, hospital and clinical variables were analyzed for association with inadequate radiation.

Results: The study cohort was 34,391 patients; 1,842(5.4%) received inadequate radiation. On multivariate analysis, female gender, older age, other race, government-provided insurance, lower clinical stage and rural location correlated with inadequate radiation.

Conclusions: Women were 50% less likely than men to receive correct neoadjuvant radiation dosing. Other factors including age, race, insurance, clinical stage, geographic location and neoadjuvant chemotherapy were significantly associated with radiation dosing. These factors should be evaluated to determine if they can be modified to improve outcomes.

Keywords: Gender disparity; Healthcare disparities; Neoadjuvant radiation; Radiation dosing; Rectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*