OBJECTIVE: To evaluate treatment outcome in a large population-based cohort of patients with anal cancer treated according to Nordic guidelines.
MATERIAL: Clinical data were collected on 1266 patients with anal squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed from 2000 to 2007 in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 886 of the patients received radiotherapy 54-64Gy with or without chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil plus cisplatin or mitomycin) according to different protocols, stratified by tumor stage.
RESULTS: High age, male gender, large primary tumor, lymph node metastases, distant metastases, poor performance status, and non-inclusion into a protocol were all independent factors associated with worse outcome. Among patients treated according to any of the protocols, the 3-year recurrence-free survival ranged from 63% to 76%, with locoregional recurrences in 17% and distant metastases in 11% of patients. The highest rate of inguinal recurrence (11%) was seen in patients with small primary tumors, treated without inguinal irradiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Good treatment efficacy was obtained with Nordic, widely implemented, guidelines for treatment of anal cancer. Inguinal prophylactic irradiation should be recommended also for small primary tumors.