Watch and Wait Strategy for Rectal Cancer: How Long Should We Wait for a Clinical Complete Response?

Asoglu O., Goksoy B., Aliyev V., Mustafayev T. Z., ATALAR B., Bakir B., ...More

Surgical technology international, vol.40, pp.130-139, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: Surgical technology international
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE
  • Page Numbers: pp.130-139
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to determine how long to wait in locally advanced rectal tumor (LARC) patients who receive total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT) and achieve a clinical complete response (cCR), and to identify the clinical parameters that affect the waiting period for the watch-and-wait strategy (W &W). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The data of patients who achieved cCR between February 2015 and June 2020 were examined retrospectively. The week in which patients with cCR at the end of TNT achieved clearance was determined by reanalyzing recorded endoscopy video images. In the assessment at the time of the initial diagnosis, tumor characteristics, such as digital rectal examination findings, MRI stage, location with respect to the puborectalis muscle, annularity, and tumor size, were recorded prospectively. RESULTS: A total of 54 patients were included in this study. According to the MRI-T stage, 14 cases were cT3a, 22 were cT3b, and 18 were cT3c-T4. Forty-four percent of the cases achieved cCR at 8-10 weeks, 19% at 12-16 weeks, 20% at 16-22 weeks, and 17% at 20-26 weeks. Patients with tumors that were early MRI-T stage (cT3a), negative clinical circumferential resection margin, mobile, small (≤4 cm), located above the puborectalis muscle and showed <180 degrees annularity achieved cCR significantly earlier than those with other tumors (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: In this study, cCR was achieved in less than half (44%) of the cases during the 8-10 week waiting period. In the W&W strategy, the initial assessment for cCR seems insufficient, and we may need to wait up to 26-30 weeks, especially in patients with advanced-stage tumors.