Researchers from Manchester and Bristol, England, evaluated the impact on survival of intensive follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer.
They conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 5 trials, which included 1342 patients.
Intensive follow-up was compared with control follow-up.
Rates of recurrence of intraluminal, local, and metastatic disease, and metachronous cancers were assessed.
| The most beneficial components of intensive follow-up need to be identified.
|British Medical Journal|
Intensive follow-up was found to be associated with a reduction in all cause mortality at 5 years (combined risk ratio = 0.81).
The effect was most pronounced in the 4 extramural detection trials that used computed tomography and frequent measurements of serum carcinoembryonic antigen (risk ratio = 0.73).
In addition, the authors found that intensive follow-up was associated with significantly earlier detection of all recurrences (difference in means = 8.5 months). It was also linked with an increased detection rate for isolated local recurrences (risk ratio = 1.61).
Senior Research Fellow, Andrew G Renehan, of the Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, said on behalf of his colleagues, "Intensive follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer improves survival."
"Large trials are required to identify which components of intensive follow-up are most beneficial,"