Management of Locoregional Rectal Cancer

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The NCCN Guidelines for Rectal Cancer are now more closely aligned with those for colon cancer. A new MRI-based definition of the rectum has been included and the use of MRI in staging has been elevated in importance. There is a new emphasis on neoadjuvant therapy, especially the concurrent use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. One of the biggest changes is more acceptance of an observational approach—“watch and wait, nonoperative management”—for select patients experiencing a complete clinical response with no evidence of residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy.

Correspondence: Christopher G. Willett, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke University, 30 Duke Medicine Circle, Room 05143 Morris, Box 3085, Durham, NC 27710. Email: christopher.willett@duke.edu
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