We examined retrospectively the results of hyperthermia combined with irradiation and chemotherapy (HCR) prescribed preoperatively for patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum. We compared two groups of patients: Group A: 23 were treated surgically between 1986-1988 and received HCR therapy; group B (controls) 48 were treated with surgery alone or surgery plus chemotherapy from 1980-1985. The recurrence rate within 2 years was compared. Although there was a difference in follow-up time, the two groups were comparable with regard to various prognostic factors. The incidences of local recurrence and of lung metastasis were nil in those given the HCR therapy. In group B, however, the incidences were 15% and 10%, respectively. These differences were statistically significant (P<0.05). The incidence of liver metastasis was much the same between the two groups. All patients tolerated the HCR therapy well except for one with myelosuppression and who refused local hyperthermia because of mild anal pain. There were no other side effects requiring cessation of this treatment. These findings suggest that preoperative HCR therapy for patients with rectal carcinoma decreases the frequency of local recurrence and the likelihood of tumour cell spread during surgical procedures.
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