Authors: Ellis CT, Cole AL, Sanoff HK, Hinton S, Dusetzina SB, Stitzenberg KB
Title: Evaluating Surveillance Patterns after Chemoradiation-Only Compared with Conventional Management for Older Patients with Rectal Cancer.
Journal: J Am Coll Surg 228(5):782-791.e2
Date: 2019 May
PubMed ID: 30685478
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Upfront chemoradiation with omission of surgery (CR-only) is increasingly being used to treat rectal cancer. When CR-only is used with curative intent, intense surveillance is recommended. We hypothesized that in practice, few patients treated with CR-only receive intensive post-treatment surveillance. STUDY DESIGN: Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare, all nonmetastatic rectal cancer patients (≥66 years old) diagnosed from 2004 to 2012, who received upfront chemoradiation, were included. Patients who received CR-only were compared with patients receiving neoadjuvant therapy plus proctectomy. In the 24 months after treatment, markers of surveillance, including carcinoembryonic antigen testing (CEA), endoscopy, and imaging, were compared between groups. RESULTS: A total of 2,482 individuals met the inclusion criteria: 21% (n = 514) had CR-only and 79% had conventional treatment (ie chemoradiation plus proctectomy). Only 2.5% and 3.4% of those in the CR-only and conventional treatment groups, respectively, were in complete compliance with National Comprehensive Cancer Network surveillance guidelines during the first 2 years post-treatment (p < 0.01). The CR-only group was less likely than the conventional treatment group to receive: CEA (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 0.57; 95% CI 0.50 to 0.65), endoscopy (aRR 0.76; 95% CI 0.66 to 0.87), and office visits (aRR 0.88; 95% CI 0.84 to 0.92), respectively. However, there were similar rates of cross-sectional imaging between groups (aRR 1.31; 95% CI 0.93 to 1.85). CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to guideline-recommended surveillance was poor for all Medicare patients with rectal cancer. Despite recommendations for closer follow-up, patients treated with CR-only were less likely to receive surveillance than those treated with conventional treatment. Efforts should be made to increase adherence to surveillance guidelines for all rectal cancer patients treated with curative intent, but particularly for those with higher risk of recurrence, such as those treated with CR-only.