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Surgical Innovation
April 29, 2020

Watch and Wait in Rectal Cancer or More Wait and See?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Colorectal Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
JAMA Surg. 2020;155(7):657-658. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.0226

A watch-and-wait (WW) approach for patients with rectal cancer after a clinical complete response (cCR) to neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) is the innovation.1-3 Clinical complete response means no rectal tumor is found by digital examination, endoscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The WW approach is nonstandard and gives the patient an opportunity to preserve the rectum and avoid surgery. Watch-and-wait has become more widespread as a cCR can occur in approximately 30% of patients treated with a total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT) approach4 (giving all therapy before rectal resection) and can occur in some patients receiving CRT alone, thereby leading to increased patient demand.

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