2014 Volume 8 Issue 1 Pages 11-23
Preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) combined with surgery has become a standard treatment strategy for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). The pathological response is an important prognostic factor for LARC. The variety of tumor responses has increased the need to find a useful predictive model for the response to CRT to identify patients who will really benefit from this multimodal treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT), serum carcinoembryogenic antigen (CEA), molecular biomarkers analyzed by immunohistochemistry and gene expression profiling are the most used predictive models in LARC. The majority of predictors have yielded encouraging results, but there is still controversy. Diffusion-weighted MRI may be the best model to detect the dynamic changes of rectal cancer and predict the response at an early stage. Gene expression profiling and single nucleotide polymorphisms hold considerable promise to unveil the underlying complex genetics of response to CRT. Because each parameter has its own inherent shortcomings, combined models may be the future trend to predict the response.