Preoperative radiation with or without chemotherapy and full-thickness transanal excision for selected T2 and T3 distal rectal cancers
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- Ruo, L., Guillem, J., Minsky, B. et al. Int J Colorectal Dis (2002) 17: 54. doi:10.1007/s003840100327
Background and aims: To evaluate the clinical outcome of selected patients with distal rectal cancer treated by preoperative radiation with or without chemotherapy and full-thickness local excision (FTLE). Patients and methods: Ten patients with invasive distal rectal cancer (six T2, four T3) were treated with preoperative radiotherapy (3600–5040 cGy) with or without 5-fluorouracil based chemotherapy. FTLE was performed 4–6 weeks after completion of radiotherapy, primarily because of comorbid diseases or patient refusal of a permanent colostomy. Median follow-up was 28.5 months. Results: There were no prolonged wound complications, and only one positive microscopic margin was detected. Among three cases of complete pathological response, two remain without evidence of disease. All patients retained sphincter function and avoided creation of a stoma. Two patients developed recurrence, one with widespread disease including pelvic recurrence 26 months after surgery and the other with distant disease only at 23 months. There were four deaths: two unrelated to cancer, one of undetermined cause after 7 years, and one after widespread recurrence at 26 months, with death 4 months later. Two-year actuarial survival was 78%. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates that preoperative radiotherapy and FTLE avoids major abdominal surgery yet facilitates sphincter preservation, excision with negative margins, and short-term local control in selected patients with distal rectal cancer.