Specialized Radiation "Paints" a Safer Picture for Anal Cancer

Serious side effects were reduced when research radiologists used a special technique to target the most radiation on anal cancer tumors, while sparing nearby normal tissue. Reported at the recent 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) did not reduce overall side effects during chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but it did cut…  Read More

Gene Panel May Predict Who Needs Rectal Cancer Surgery

Surgeons at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have identified 87 genes that someday may tell doctors whether or not rectal cancer patients need surgery after chemotherapy and radiation.  The panel of genes predicted patients whose cancer appeared to be completely destroyed by the combination of chemotherapy and radiation before surgery, what is called pathological complete…  Read More

ASCO Research Highlights: Rectal and Anal Cancer

Researchers tried to push the envelope in treating rectal and anal cancer by adding new or different chemotherapy to standard chemoradiotherapy.  However, two trials in rectal cancer and one in anal cancer were not able to improve complete response rates for chemoradiation.  Adding extra chemotherapy after radiation was finished didn’t improve relapse-free survival for anal cancer…  Read More

Rectal Tumor Regression After Presurgical Chemoradiation Predicts Survival

The more tumors shrink during chemotherapy and radiation before rectal cancer surgery, the better the chance that patients will survive and be cancer-free five years later. Doctors in Ireland developed a simple, three point, tumor regression grade or TRG, to measure the amount of change during chemoradiotherapy before surgery to remove rectal cancer.  After five years,…  Read More

Radiation Before Surgery Can Increase Bowel and Sexual Problems

Although giving radiation before rectal cancer surgery reduces the risk that cancer will return in the rectum and nearby tissues, it does so at a cost.  Quality-of-life studies that accompanied a trial of a short course of radiation therapy before surgery  found more sexual and bowel problems with presurgical radiation.