To compare treatment and toxicity outcomes between a phase 2 institutional trial of near total neoadjuvant therapy (nTNT) for locally advanced rectal cancer and a similar historical control cohort treated at Washington University in St. Louis with the current US standard of care, defined as neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NCRT), total mesorectal excision (TME), and adjuvant FOLFOX chemotherapy; to expand the comparison to an additional institution, patients treated with similar NCRT at Stanford University were included.Sixty-nine patients with cT3-4N0-2M0 rectal adenocarcinoma enrolled on the Washington University in St. Louis phase 2 study of nTNT were included for analysis. Patients treated at the same institution with conventional NCRT and adjuvant FOLFOX were matched for exact cTNM stage. Forty-one patients treated with NCRT at Stanford University were included in a second analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis with log-rank test was used to compare local control, distant metastasis-free survival, disease-free survival, and overall survival.Median follow-up was 49 and 54 months for nTNT and NCRT, respectively. Pathologic complete response and T-downstaging rates were 28% versus 16% (P=.21) and 75% versus 41% (P<.001) in the nTNT and NCRT cohorts, respectively. Three-year disease-free survival (85% vs 68%, P=.032) was significantly better in the nTNT group. Actuarial 3-year local control (92% vs 96%, P=.36) and overall survival (96% vs 88%, P=.67) were similar. The Stanford cohort had significantly lower clinical stage. After controlling for clinical stage, age, tumor location, institution, and number of chemotherapy cycles, nTNT treatment remained significantly associated with lower risk of recurrence (P=.006).Patients treated with nTNT had higher T-downstaging and superior distant metastasis-free survival and disease-free survival compared with conventional NCRT when matched for tumor location and exact cTNM stage. Near total neoadjuvant therapy remained a significant multivariate predictor for improved outcome when including patients treated with NCRT at another institution.
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