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Chemoradiation vs. local excision in the management of early squamous cell carcinoma of the anus: a systematic review

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2022 Aug 24. doi: 10.1007/s00384-022-04241-4. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA) suffers a constant increase each year in the last decades. Recent studies suggested the possibility of local excision (LE) as an option for early-stage SCAC patients. This systematic review aims to summarize the available evidence on the comparison of LE vs. chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in the treatment of early SCCA patients.

METHODS: We conducted a literature review including MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS,, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews through June 2022. MOOSE guidelines were followed. We used the methodological index for non-randomized studies (MINORS) tool to assess quality. Data on survival and procedure-associated costs were extracted.

RESULTS: Four retrospective studies including 3323 patients were included. They were all comparative retrospective cohort studies (three were registry-based studies, either NCDB or SEER) with a MINORS score of 16-19 points. Overall survival (OS) was comparable between LE and CRT patients in three studies, with a 5-year OS of 85.3-100% in LE patients and 85-91.6% in CRT patients. One study investigated cancer-specific survival (CSS) and reported similar 5-year CSS in LE (98%) and CRT patients (96%). One investigated progression-free survival (PFS) and did not report any statistically significant difference in 5-year PFS between LE (91%) and CRT patients (83%). Only one study considered the mean costs associated with the two approaches (29,210 USD with LE and 46,350 USD with CRT).

CONCLUSIONS: LE may potentially be considered a valid alternative to CRT for patients with early-stage SCAA. Results of prospective randomized long-term trials comparing LE with CRT are warranted to draw definitive conclusions and consider LE as a true cost-effective strategy for T1N0 SCCA with similar oncologic results offered by CRT, which-to date-remains the “gold standard.”


PMID:36002749 | DOI:10.1007/s00384-022-04241-4

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