Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1192–1198 | Cite as

Radiation-Induced Apoptosis of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes is Correlated with Histological Regression of Rectal Cancer in Response to Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy

  • Soichiro Ishihara
  • Hisae Iinuma
  • Yoshihisa Fukushima
  • Takuya Akahane
  • Atsushi Horiuchi
  • Ryu Shimada
  • Hajime Shibuya
  • Tamuro Hayama
  • Hideki Yamada
  • Keijiro Nozawa
  • Keiji Matsuda
  • Toshiaki Watanabe
Colorectal Cancer



The response of rectal cancer to preoperative chemoradiotherapy (PRT) varies widely among patients, and predictors of the response remain to be elucidated. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether radiation-induced apoptosis (RIA) of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) reflects the underlying intrinsic radiosensitivity of rectal cancer.


Forty-one patients with clinical T3-4, M0 low rectal cancers, treated with PRT and curative surgery, were retrospectively studied. PBLs were obtained from blood samples of the patients, irradiated at 0, 2, 8, and 16 Gy in vitro, and analyzed for RIA by flow cytometry using Annexin V (AV) and propidium iodide (PI). The correlation of the RIA of PBLs and histological regression of rectal cancer in response to PRT was examined.


Both the proportions of AV+/PI− PBLs (early apoptosis) and AV+/PI + PBLs (late apoptosis) were significantly higher in patients with high histological regression than in those with low histological regression. Age, sex, tumor size, and clinical T and N stages did not affect the RIA of PBLs.


This study showed that the RIA of PBLs is correlated with the histological regression of rectal cancer in response to PRT and suggested that the radiosensitivity of rectal cancer might be estimated by the RIA of PBLs.


Rectal Cancer Propidium Iodide Rectal Cancer Patient Blood Sample Collection Complete RPMI Medium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors greatly thank Ms. Junko Tamura for her excellent laboratory work.

Conflict of Interests

There are no personal conflicts of interest, nor sources of outside support for research.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soichiro Ishihara
    • 1
  • Hisae Iinuma
    • 1
  • Yoshihisa Fukushima
    • 1
  • Takuya Akahane
    • 1
  • Atsushi Horiuchi
    • 1
  • Ryu Shimada
    • 1
  • Hajime Shibuya
    • 1
  • Tamuro Hayama
    • 1
  • Hideki Yamada
    • 1
  • Keijiro Nozawa
    • 1
  • Keiji Matsuda
    • 1
  • Toshiaki Watanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryTeikyo UniversityItabashi-ku, TokyoJapan

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