To evaluate the prognostic significance of the first postsurgery carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiation (nCRT) and total mesorectal excision.A total of 100 patients underwent nCRT and had baseline and posttreatment CEA levels recorded within 6 months of surgery. The median radiotherapy dose was 50.4 Gy. Eighty-six patients received adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy. Prognostic factors were analyzed for possible associations with freedom from failure (FFF) by univariate and multivariate analyses. Median follow-up was 30 months.The median CEA (ng/ml) levels at baseline before nCRT, after nCRT, and after total mesorectal excision were 3.6, 1.7, and 1.3, respectively. Pathologic complete response was observed in 22%. FFF at 36 months was 78%. Local failure and distant failure occurred in 4 and 20% of the patients, respectively. On univariate analysis, pathologic complete response, margin status, and both pretreatment and postsurgery CEA levels were associated with recurrence (all P < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, pathologic complete response (P < 0.007), margin status (P < 0.001), and postsurgery CEA level (P = 0.003), but not baseline CEA level (P = 0.2), were found to be associated with recurrence.After nCRT for rectal cancer, postsurgery CEA level may have more prognostic value than pretreatment level. Patients with a postsurgery CEA level of >2.5 ng/ml have higher rates of recurrence and may warrant closer surveillance.
View details for DOI 10.1245/s10434-012-2266-x
View details for Web of Science ID 000306789000009
View details for PubMedID 22327251