Recent literature suggests that the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy (aCT) for rectal cancer patients might depend on the response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation (CRT). Aim was to evaluate whether the effect of aCT in rectal cancer is modified by response to CRT and to identify which patients benefit from aCT after CRT, by means of a pooled analysis of individual patient data from 13 datasets. Patients were categorised into 3 groups: pCR (ypT0N0), ypT1-2 tumour and ypT3-4 tumour. Hazard ratios for the effect of aCT were derived from multivariable Cox regression analyses. Primary outcome measure was recurrence-free survival (RFS). 1723(52%) of 3313 included patients received aCT. 898 patients had a pCR, 966 had a ypT1-2 tumour and 1302 had a ypT3-4 tumour. For 122 patients response category was missing and 25 patients had ypT0N+. Median follow-up for all patients was 51 (0-219) months. Hazard ratios for RFS with 95%CI for patients treated with aCT were 1.25(0.68-2.29), 0.58(0.37-0.89) and 0.83(0.66-1.10) for patients with pCR, ypT1-2 and ypT3-4 tumours, respectively. The effect of aCT in rectal cancer patients treated with CRT differs between subgroups. Patients with a pCR after CRT may not benefit from aCT, whereas patients with residual tumour had superior outcomes when aCT was administered. The test for interaction did not reach statistical significance, but the results support further investigation of a more individualized approach to administer aCT after CRT and surgery based on pathologic staging. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.