Image-Guided Brachytherapy for Rectal Cancer: Reviewing the Past Two Decades of Clinical Investigation

Te Vuong, Aurelie Garant, Veronique Vendrely, Remi Nout, André Guy Martin, Shirin A. Enger, Ervin Podgorsak, Belal Moftah, Slobodan Devic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


(1) Background: The introduction of total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal cancer has led to improvement in local recurrence (LR) outcomes. Furthermore, the addition of preoperative external beam radiotherapy to TME reduces LR to less than 6%. As a trade-off to these gradual improvements in local therapies, the oncology community’s work is now focusing on mitigating treatment-related toxicities. In other words, if a small proportion of 4–6% of rectal cancer patients benefit from additional local therapy beyond TME, the burden of acute and long-term side effects must be considered with care. (2) Methods: With the introduction of better-quality imaging for tumor visualization and treatment planning, a new conformed radiation treatment was introduced with high-dose-rate endorectal brachytherapy. The treatment concept was tested in phase I and II studies: first in the pre-operative setting, and then as a boost after external beam radiation therapy, as a dose-escalation study, to achieve higher local tumor control. (3) Results: HDREBT is safe and effective in achieving a high tumor regression rate and was well tolerated in a phase II multicenter and two matched-pair studies. (4) Conclusions: HDREBT is a conformed radiation therapy that is safe and effective, and is presently explored in a phase III dose-escalation study in the NOM of patients with operable rectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4846
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • conformed therapy for rectal cancer
  • non-operative management of rectal cancer
  • rectal brachytherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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