International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 1311–1317 | Cite as

Effect of neoadjuvant chemoradiation on postoperative fecal continence and anal sphincter function in rectal cancer patients

  • Alexander P. Pietsch
  • Rainer Fietkau
  • Günther Klautke
  • Thomas Foitzik
  • Ernst Klar
Original Article


Background and aims

Neoadjuvant chemoradiation (nCRT) followed by curative surgery has gained acceptance as the therapy of choice in locally advanced rectal cancer. This prospective study evaluates the effect of nCRT on postoperative anorectal function and continence.

Patients and methods

Group A consisted of 12 patients (59.8 ± 11.9 years, male:female = 8:4) who received nCRT (5-FU, CPT-11. 45 + 5.4 Gy boost) before surgery and Group B of 27 patients (61.9 ± 10.6 years, male:female = 16:11) who were treated by surgery alone. All patients received a questionnaire to evaluate stool continence and anorectal function before as well as after surgery. Anorectal function was further analyzed by perfusion manometry pre- and postoperatively.


Preoperatively, none of the patients had signs or symptoms of fecal incontinence, and preoperative measurements showed values within normal limits. Postoperatively, fecal continence was impaired in both groups, but no significant difference was found between patients with or without nCRT. Anorectal manometry revealed an impairment of anorectal function after low anterior resection regardless of the treatment regime.


nCRT does not impair anorectal function and fecal continence. The deterioration of continence and anal sphincter function after sphincter preserving surgery is solely caused by the surgical procedure.


Neoadjuvant chemoradiation Rectal cancer Fecal incontinence Manometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander P. Pietsch
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rainer Fietkau
    • 2
  • Günther Klautke
    • 2
  • Thomas Foitzik
    • 1
  • Ernst Klar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of RostockRostockGermany
  3. 3.Department of General, Thoracic, Vascular, and Transplantation SurgeryUniversity of RostockRostockGermany

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