A multicentric randomized controlled trial on the impact of lengthening the interval between neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy and surgery on complete pathological response in rectal cancer (GRECCAR-6 trial): rationale and design

Abstract : Background: Neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (RCT) is now part of the armamentarium of cancer of the lower and middle rectum. It is recommended in current clinical practice prior to surgical excision if the lesion is classified T3/T4 or N+. Histological complete response, defined by the absence of persistent tumor cell invasion and lymph node (ypT0N0) after pathological examination of surgical specimen has been shown to be an independent prognostic factor of overall survival and disease-free survival. Surgical excision is usually performed between 6 and 8 weeks after completion of CRT and pathological complete response rate ranges around 12%. In retrospective studies, a lengthening of the interval after RCT beyond 10 weeks was found as an independent factor increasing the rate of pathological complete response (between 26% and 31%), with a longer disease-free survival and without increasing the operative morbidity. The aim of the present study is to evaluate in 264 patients the rate of pathological complete response rate of rectal cancer after RCT by lengthening the time between RCT and surgery. Methods/design: The current study is a multicenter randomized trial in two parallel groups comparing 7 and 11 weeks of delay between the end of RCT and cancer surgery of rectal tumors. At the end of the RCT, surgery is planified and randomization is performed after patient’s written consent for participation. The histological complete response (ypT0N0) will be determined with analysis of the complete residual tumor and double reading by two pathologists blinded of the group of inclusion. Patients will be followed in clinics for 5 years after surgery. Participation in this trial does not change patient’s management in terms of treatment, investigations or visits. Secondary endpoints will include overall and disease free survival, rate of sphincter conservation and quality of mesorectal excision. The number of patients needed is 264.
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Jérémie H. Lefevre, Alexandra Rousseau, Magali Svrcek, Yann Parc, Tabassome Simon, et al.. A multicentric randomized controlled trial on the impact of lengthening the interval between neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy and surgery on complete pathological response in rectal cancer (GRECCAR-6 trial): rationale and design. BMC Cancer, BioMed Central, 2013, 13, pp.417. 〈10.1186/1471-2407-13-417〉. 〈hal-01548289〉

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