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A. R. Skandarajah MBBS, MD, FRACS, A. C. Lynch MMed Sci, FRACS, J. R. Mackay FRCS, FRACS, S. Ngan FRCSEd, FRANZCR, A. G. Heriot MD, FRCS, FRACS
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Combined multimodality therapy is becoming standard treatment for many solid tumors, but the role of intraoperative radiotherapy in the management of solid tumors remains uncertain. The aim is to review the indication, application, and outcomes of intraoperative radiotherapy in the management of nongynecological solid tumors.
A literature search was performed using Medline, Embase, Ovid, and Cochrane database for studies between 1965 and 2008 assessing intraoperative radiotherapy, using the keywords “intraoperative radiotherapy,” “colorectal cancer,” “breast cancer,” “gastric cancer,” “pancreatic cancer,” “soft tissue tumor,” and “surgery.” Only publications in English with available abstracts and regarding adult humans were included, and the evidence was critically evaluated.
Our search retrieved 864 publications. After exclusion of nonclinical papers, duplicated papers and exclusion of brachytherapy papers, 77 papers were suitable to assess the current role of intraoperative radiotherapy. The clinical application and evidence base of intraoperative radiotherapy for each cancer is presented.
Current studies in all common cancers show an additional benefit in local recurrence rates when intraoperative radiotherapy is included in the multimodal treatment. However, intraoperative radiotherapy may not improve overall survival and has significant morbidity depending on the site of the tumor. Intraoperative radiotherapy does have a role in the multidisciplinary management of solid tumors, but further studies are required to more precisely determine the extent of benefit.
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