Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Radiation Oncology



The study aims to assess the tolerance of elderly patients (70 years or older) with locally advanced rectal cancers to image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT). A retrospective review of 13 elderly patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who underwent preoperative chemoradiation using IGRT was performed. Grade 3–4 acute toxicities, survival, and long-term complications were compared to 17 younger patients (<70 years) with the same disease stage.


Grade 3–4 hematologic toxicities occurred in 7.6% and 0% (p = 0.4) and gastrointestinal toxicities, and, in 15.2% and 5% (p = 0.5), of elderly and younger patients, respectively. Surgery was aborted in three patients, two in the elderly group and one in the younger group. One patient in the elderly group died after surgery from cardiac arrhythmia. After a median follow-up of 34 months, five patients had died, two in the elderly and three in the younger group. The 3-year survival was 90.9% and 87.5% (p = 0.7) for the elderly and younger group respectively. Two patients in the younger group developed ischemic colitis and fecal incontinence. There was no statistically significant difference in acute and late toxicities as well as survival between the two groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Elderly patients with locally advanced rectal cancers may tolerate preoperative chemoradiation with IGRT as well as younger patients. Further prospective studies should be performed to investigate the potential of IGRT for possible cure in elderly patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.

Source Citation

Nguyen NP, Ceizyk M, Vock J, Vos P, Chi A, Vinh-Hung V, et al. (2013) Feasibility of Image-Guided Radiotherapy for Elderly Patients with Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71250.


© 2013 Nguyen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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