The concentration of capecitabine peaks at 1-2 hours after administration. We therefore assumed that proper timing of capecitabine administration and radiotherapy would maximize radiosensitization and influence survival among patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We retrospectively reviewed 223 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who underwent preoperative chemoradiation, followed by surgery from January 2002 to May 2006. All patients underwent pelvic radiotherapy (50 Gy/25 fractions) and received capecitabine twice daily at 12-hour intervals (1,650 mg/m2/day). Patients were divided into two groups according to the time interval between capecitabine intake and radiotherapy. Patients who took capecitabine 1 hour before radiotherapy were classified as Group A (n = 109); all others were classified as Group B (n = 114).
The median follow-up period was 72 months (range, 7 to 149 months). Although Group A had a significantly higher rate of good responses (44% vs. 25%; p = 0.005), the 5-year local recurrence-free survival rates of 93% in Group A and 97% in Group B did not differ significantly (p = 0.519). The 5-year disease-free survival and overall survival rates were also comparable between the groups.
Despite the better pathological response in Group A, the time interval between capecitabine and radiotherapy administration did not have a significant effect on survivals. Further evaluations are needed to clarify the interaction of these treatment modalities.