A phase II study of preoperative capecitabine and radiation therapy in patients with rectal cancer

Sameer P. Desai, Basil F. El-Rayes, Edgar Ben-Josef, Joel K. Greenson, James A. Knol, Emina H. Huang, Kent A. Griffith, Philip A. Philip, Cornelius J. McGinn, Mark M. Zalupski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of preoperative capecitabine and radiation therapy (RT) in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). METHODS: Patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum stage ≥T3 or ≥N1 were treated with capecitabine 1330 mg/m per day in 2 divided doses days 1 to 42 and 50.4 Gy of RT in 28 1.8-Gy fractions. Patients with metastatic disease were eligible provided that operative intervention on primary site was anticipated. Surgery resection occurred 4 to 6 weeks after completion of preoperative therapy. RESULTS: Thirty eligible patients were enrolled at two institutions. Median age and performance status were 62 years and 90%, respectively. Twenty-eight patients (93%) completed combined modality therapy and 27 underwent resection, including 17 abdominal-perineal and 9 low anterior resections. Three of 27 (11%) had pathologic complete response (pCR) with an additional 7 (26%) having minimal residual disease. Two patients who were felt to require abdominal perineal resection prior to combined modality therapy (CMT) were able to have sphincter-sparing surgery. No patients had progression during CMT which precluded surgical resection. Treatment was well tolerated with ≥grade 3 toxicities limited to diarrhea (5 patients), hand-foot syndrome (1 patient), dermatitis (1 patient). Twenty-four patients are living, 18 with no evidence of disease. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of preoperative capecitabine and RT in patients with LARC has significant antitumor activity, efficacy, and a low toxicity profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-345
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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