Multidisciplinary treatment of patients with rectal cancer: Development during the past decades and plans for the future
In rectal cancer treatment, both the local primary and the regional and systemic tumour cell deposits must be taken care of in order to improve survival. The three main treatments, surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, each with their own advantages and limitations, must then be combined to improve results. Several large randomized trials have shown that combinations of the modalities have markedly reduced the loco-regional recurrences, but have not yet had any major influence on overall survival. The best integration of the weakest modality, to date the drugs (conventional cytotoxics and biologicals), is not known. A new generation of trials exploring the best sequence of treatments is required. Furthermore, treatment of rectal cancer is administered to populations of individuals, based upon clinical factors and imaging, and can presently not be further individualized. There is an urgent need to develop response predictors.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Upsala Mecical Society. Read the full Copyright- and Licensing Statement.