The US Gastrointestinal Intergroup Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 98-11 anal carcinoma trial showed that cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy resulted in a significantly higher rate of colostomy compared with mitomycin-based therapy. Established prognostic variables for patients with anal carcinoma include tumor diameter, clinical nodal status, and sex, but pretreatment variables that would predict the likelihood of colostomy are unknown.
A secondary analysis was performed by combining patients in the two treatment arms to evaluate whether new predictive and prognostic variables would emerge. Univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to correlate overall survival (OS), disease-free survival, and time to colostomy (TTC) with pretreatment and treatment variables.
Of 682 patients enrolled, 644 patients were assessable and analyzed. In the multivariate analysis, tumor-related prognosticators for poorer OS included node-positive cancer (P ≤ .0001), large (> 5 cm) tumor diameter (P = .01), and male sex (P = .016). In the treatment-related categories, cisplatin-based therapy was statistically significantly associated with a higher rate of colostomy (P = .03) than was mitomycin-based therapy. In the pretreatment variables category, only large tumor diameter independently predicted for TTC (P = .008). Similarly, the cumulative 5-year colostomy rate was statistically significantly higher for large tumor diameter than for small tumor diameter (Gray's test; P = .0074). Clinical nodal status and sex were not predictive of TTC.
The combined analysis of the two arms of RTOG 98-11, representing the largest prospective database, reveals that tumor diameter (irrespective of the nodal status) is the only independent pretreatment variable that predicts TTC and 5-year colostomy rate in patients with anal carcinoma.