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Invited Commentary
July 9, 2020

Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer—Precision Therapy in a Time of Moving Targets and Competing Goals

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
  • 3Clinical Trials Office–Solid Tumor Unit, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(9):1421-1423. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2208

In this issue of JAMA Oncology, Diefenhardt and colleagues1 report a post hoc analysis of the previously published German CAO/ARO/AIO-04 trial2 and found that the ability of patients with rectal cancer to complete planned neoadjuvant (but not adjuvant) therapy was associated with improved disease-free survival. The authors concluded “the findings emphasize the need for appropriate trial design with optimized nCRT [neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy] dose and schedule and supportive strategies to facilitate good adherence and precision delivery, especially for intensified nCRT.”1 Few would dispute this broad point, but the greater challenge lies in aligning their recommendations with current paradigms of rectal cancer treatment, which have evolved dynamically since the CAO/ARO/AIO-04 study.

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