• Conditional survival of patients with rectal cancer undergoing Watch and Wait: The risk of recurrence over time

      Fernandez, L. M.; Figueiredo, N.; Beets, G.; Van Der Valk, M.; Bahadoer, R.; Hilling, D.; Renehan, Andrew G; Van De Velde, C. J. H.; Habr-Gama, A.; Perez, R. O.; et al. (2020)
      Background: Patients with rectal cancer and complete clinical response (cCR) after neoadjuvant chemoradiation (nCRT) have been offered non-operative management (W&W). Risk factors for local regrowth (RG) include baseline cT and type of nCRT. However, the influence of risk factors for RG over time and the extent in time that patients need to be followed with the rectum in situ after a cCR are unknown. Objective: Analyze the risk of recurrence over time through conditional survival (cDFS/cLRFS) estimates for rectal cancer patients under W&W. Methods: Retrospective analysis of all patients from the largest multicenter database of patients managed non-operatively (International Watch and Wait Database?IWWD). Only patients with cCR after nCRT and W&W with a median of >3 years of follow-up were included. cDFS was used to investigate the evolution of recurrence-odds, as patients remain disease-free after nCRT. 2-year cDFS was estimated at ?x? years after nCRT based on the formula cDFS2=DFS(x+2)/DFS(x). Results: 768 patients treated between 1991-2015 were included. Using cDFSestimates, the probability of remaining disease-free for 2 additional years once cCR was achieved and sustained for 1, 3, and 5 years, were 85%, 97%, and 95%, respectively. These contrast with the actuarial DFS for similar intervals of 70%, 68% and 65% respectively. Baseline cT was associated with the risk of RG at 1 year after a cCR (cT2 aLRFS 89% vs. cT3 82%; p=0.004). However, after sustaining a cCR for 1 year, baseline cT becomes irrelevant at 2 years (cLRFS; 94% vs. 90%; |d| 0.14). Also, total dose of RT (?50 vs >50Gy) was associated with the risk of RG (aLRFS 76% vs 85%; p=0.03) at 1 year. Dose of RT becomes irrelevant (at 2 years; cLRFS 93% vs. 90%; |d| 0.10) once patients sustained a cCR for 1 year. Conclusions: Conditional survival estimates suggests that patients have significantly lower risks (?5%) of developing late RG (at 5 years) after sustaining cCR for 3 years. A sustained cCR over time may be more relevant for long-term risk of RG than cT-stage or RT dose. The present data can have significant consequences for the recommendation of intensive surveillance after sustaining 3ys of cCR.