Clinical research: Randomized phase III trial for T3-4 rectal cancer

Professional info

Location: University Hospital of Brussels (Belgium)
Collaboration: Prof. Mark De Ridder, MD


The department has clinically established the world's first center for intensity-modulated and image-guided radiotherapy (IMRT-IGRT), using the Tomotherapy Hi-Art II system, in the pre-operative treatment of rectal cancer. In a phase II study, 108 patients were treated preoperatively and experienced minimal toxicity, as a result of a maximal sparing of surrounding healthy tissues. Moreover, a higher dose (boost) was simultaneously delivered to the primary tumor, resulting in an excellent local control. This regimen is currently being compared to standard chemoradiotherapy in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, in an international multicentric phase III trial. In case the radiotherapy demonstrates non-inferiority to the chemoradiotherapy, the former approach is considered preferential with regard to toxicity and cost.