Trends and Factors Associated with Receipt of Upfront Surgery for Stage II to III Rectal Adenocarcinoma in the United States, 2006 to 2016

David M. Hein, Chul Ahn, Todd A. Aguilera, Michael R Folkert, Nina N. Sanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The German rectal study published in 2004 established neoadjuvant chemoradiation as a standard of care for locally advanced rectal cancer and current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines endorse several preoperative regimens. Upfront surgery, however, is considered substandard care. In the era of evolving treatment paradigms for locally advanced rectal cancer, we sought to assess trends and predictors of receipt of upfront surgery for stage II to III rectal cancer. Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with clinical stage II to III rectal adenocarcinoma between 2006 and 2016. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals of receipt of upfront definitive surgery. The timing of upfront surgery relative to day of diagnosis and rate of receipt of adjuvant therapy were also estimated. Results: Among 51,562 patients, 6411 (12.4%) were treated with upfront surgery, which decreased from 16.7% in 2006 to 7.1% in 2016 (P<0.001). The majority of patients (5737 [89.5%]) had definitive surgery after initial diagnostic biopsy. Variables associated with receipt of upfront surgery included female sex, older age, higher comorbidity score, and treatment at a community cancer center (P<0.001). Among those receiving upfront surgery, 2904 (45.3%) received adjuvant radiation therapy, 3218 (50.2%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 2559 (39.9%) received no further treatment. Conclusions: The proportion of patients with clinical stage II to III rectal cancer treated with upfront surgery has steadily declined since 2006, however, certain subgroups appear to remain at greater risk. Further research is needed to better elucidate patient and systems-level factors contributing to these disparities in care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • cancer disparities
  • cancer registry study
  • rectal cancer
  • surgical resection
  • total neoadjuvant therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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