Long-Term Feasibility of 13.56 MHz Modulated Electro-Hyperthermia-Based Preoperative Thermoradiochemotherapy in Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer
We evaluated the effect of 13.56 MHz modulated electro-hyperthermia (mEHT) boost in neoadjuvant treatment for cT3-4- or cN-positive rectal cancer. Sixty patients who completed the mEHT feasibility trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02546596) were analyzed. Whole pelvis radiotherapy of 40 Gy, mEHT boost twice a week during radiotherapy, and surgical resection 6-8 weeks following radiotherapy were performed. The median age was 59. The median follow-up period was 58 (6-85) months. Total/near total tumor regression was observed in 20 patients (33.3%), including nine cases of complete response. T- and N-downstaging was identified in 40 (66.6%) and 53 (88.3%) patients, respectively. The 5-year overall and disease-free survival were 94.0% and 77.1%, respectively. mEHT energy of ≥3800 kJ potentially increased the overall survival ( = 0.039). The ypN-stage and perineural invasion were possible significant factors in disease-free ( = 0.003 and = 0.005, respectively) and distant metastasis-free ( = 0.011 and = 0.034, respectively) survival. Tumor regression, resection margin status, and other molecular genetic factors showed no correlation with survival. Although a limited analysis of a small number of patients, mEHT was feasible considering long-term survival. A relatively low dose irradiation (40 Gy) plus mEHT setting could ensure comparable clinical outcomes with possible mEHT-related prognostic features.