Intraoperative radiotherapy in colorectal cancer: Systematic review and meta-analysis of techniques, long-term outcomes, and complications

Reza Mirnezami, George J. Chang, Prajnan Das, Kandiah Chandrakumaran, Paris Tekkis, Ara Darzi, Alexander H. Mirnezami

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

61 Scopus citations


Background: The precise contribution of IORT to the management of locally advanced and recurrent colorectal cancer (CRC) remains uncertain. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the value of IORT in this setting. Methods: Studies published between 1965 and 2011 that reported outcomes after IORT for advanced or recurrent CRC were identified by an electronic literature search. Studies were assessed for methodological quality and design, and evaluated for technique of IORT delivery, oncological outcomes, and complications following IORT. Outcomes were analysed with fixed-effect and random-effect model meta-analyses and heterogeneity and publication bias examined. Results: 29 studies comprising 14 prospective and 15 retrospective studies met the inclusion criteria and were assessed, yielding a total of 3003 patients. The indication for IORT was locally advanced disease in 1792 patients and locally recurrent disease in 1211 patients. Despite heterogeneity in methodology and reporting practice, IORT is principally applied for the treatment of close or positive margins. When comparative studies were evaluated, a significant effect favouring improved local control (OR 0.22; 95% CI = 0.05-0.86; p = 0.03), disease free survival (HR 0.51; 95% CI = 0.31-0.85; p = 0.009), and overall survival (HR 0.33; 95% CI = 0.2-0.54; p = 0.001) was noted with no increase in total (OR 1.13; 95% CI = 0.77-1.65; p = 0.57), urologic (OR 1.35; 95% CI = 0.84-2.82; p = 0.47), or anastomotic complications (OR 0.94; 95% CI = 0.42-2.1; p = 0.98). Increased wound complications were noted after IORT (OR 1.86; 95% CI = 1.03-3.38; p = 0.049). Conclusions: Despite methodological weaknesses in the studies evaluated, our results suggest that IORT may improve oncological outcomes in advanced and recurrent CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
JournalSurgical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Colorectal cancer
  • IORT
  • Intraoperative radiotherapy
  • Locally advanced
  • Recurrent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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