Background: Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) has gained increasing acceptance as a local treatment of early rectal cancer. The purpose of this study was to compare the results of TEM and radical surgery in patients with T1 and T2 rectal cancer. Methods: From October 1994 to December 2000, 74 patients with T1 and T2 rectal adenocarcinoma treated with TEM were compared with 100 patients with T1N0M0 and T2N0M0 rectal adenocarcinoma treated with radical surgery. Retrospective analysis was performed regarding to recurrence and survival rate. Neither group received adjuvant chemoradiation. There was no significant difference in age, gender, tumor location, or follow-up period between the two groups. The only difference was in tumor size. Results: Of the 74 patients in TEM group, 52 were T1 (70.3%) and 22 were T2 (29.7%). Of the 100 patients in radical surgery group, 17 were T1 (17%) and 83 patients were T2 (83%). The 5-year local recurrence rates were 4.1% for T1, 19.5% for T2 after TEM, 0% for T1, and 9.4% for T2 after radical surgery. There was no statistical difference between the TEM and radical surgery groups for T1 rectal cancer (p = 0.95), but for T2 rectal cancer, the 5-year local recurrence rate was higher after TEM than after radical surgery (p = 0.04). There were no significant statistical difference between the two groups in terms of the 5-year disease-free survival rate and the survival rate. Conclusions: For T1 rectal cancer, there was no difference in recurrence or 5-year survival rate between the TEM and the radical surgery groups. For T2 rectal cancer, there was no statistical difference in the 5-year survival rate between the two groups, but TEM carried higher risk of local recurrence. Therefore, careful selection of the patients is required for TEM, and when proper muscle invasion is proven, the TEM procedure should be supplemented by further treatment, or radical surgery should be performed.
Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM)Radical surgeryT1, T2 Rectal cancer