Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 1314–1320 | Cite as

The effect of dose escalation for large squamous cell carcinomas of the anal canal

  • R. N. Prasad
  • J. Elson
  • J. Kharofa
Research Article



Chemoradiation allows for organ preservation in patients with anal cancer, but patients with large tumors (> 5 cm) have elevated rates of locoregional recurrence. With conformal radiation techniques, there is interest in dose escalation to decrease local recurrence in patients with large tumor size.


The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was used to identify patients with anal cancer from 2004 to 2013 with tumors > 5 cm. Adult patients who received definitive chemoradiation were included. Patients with prior resection were excluded. High dose was defined as greater than or equal to 5940 cGy. Statistical analyses were performed using logistic regression, Kaplan–Meier, and Cox proportional hazards for overall survival (OS).


In total, 1349 patients were analyzed with 412 (30.5%) receiving high-dose radiation therapy (RT). 5-year OS was 58 and 60% for high and standard dose RT, respectively (p = 0.9887). On univariate analysis, high-dose RT was not associated with improved OS (HR = 0.998, CI 0.805–1.239, p = 0.9887). On multivariate analysis, high-dose RT (HR = 0.948, CI 0.757–1.187, p = 0.6420) was not associated with improved OS but older age (HR = 1.535, CI 1.233–1.911, p = 0.0001), male sex (HR = 1.695, CI 1.382–2.080, p < 0.0001), comorbidities (HR = 1.389, CI 1.097–1.759, p = 0.0064), and long RT (HR = 1.299, CI 1.047–1.611, p = 0.0173) were significantly associated with decreased OS.


There was no observed difference in OS for dose escalation of anal cancers > 5 cm in this population-based analysis. Differences in local control and salvage therapy cannot be assessed through the NCDB. Whether dose escalation of large tumors may improve local control and colostomy-free survival remains an important question and is the subject of ongoing trials.


Dose escalation Anal cancer Large tumors Overall survival benefit Squamous cell carcinoma 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Ethical approval

This was a retrospective review of population level, aggregated, de-identified data from a national United States cancer database (NCDB). As a result, this study did not involve interaction with any human subjects or sensitive demographic or treatment data from any human subjects that could be tied to any particular patient or treatment center.

Informal consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation Oncology, UC Health Barrett Cancer CenterUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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