Watch-and-Wait as a Therapeutic Strategy in Rectal Cancer.
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Purpose of Review: Pathological complete response is seen in approximately one fifth of rectal cancer patients following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. Since these patients have excellent oncological outcomes, there has been a rapidly growing interest in organ preservation for those who develop a clinical complete response. We review the watch-and-wait strategy and focus on all aspects of this hot topic, including who should be considered for this approach, how should we identify treatment response and what are the expected outcomes. Recent Findings: The major challenges in interpreting the data on watch-and-wait are the significant heterogeneity of patients selected for this approach and of methods employed to identify them. The evidence available comes mostly from retrospective cohort studies, but has shown good oncological outcomes, including the rate of successful salvage surgery, locoregional control and overall survival. Summary: There is currently not enough and not robust enough evidence to support watch-and-wait as a standard approach, outside a clinical trial, for patients achieving clinical complete response following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. Furthermore, there is a lack of data on long-term outcomes. However, the results we have so far are promising, and there is therefore an urgent need for randomised control studies such as the TRIGGER trial to confirm the safety of this strategy.
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Deferral of surgery
Watch and wait
GI Clinical Oncology
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Curr Colorectal Cancer Rep, 2018, 14 (2), pp. 37 - 55