Rectal adenocarcinoma and transanal endoscopic microsurgery. Diagnostic challenges, indications and short term results in 142 consecutive patients
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The objective of this study was to present short-term results of transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) of rectal adenocarcinomas registered in a national database.
A Danish TEM group was established in 1995. The group organized a database for prospective and consecutive registration of all TEM procedures. The perioperative course of all rectal cancers treated with TEM and registered in this database is analysed.
One hundred forty-two patients had TEM for rectal cancer. In 43%of the patients, the cancer diagnosis was not recognized before TEM. Eighty-five percent of all tumors were classified as benign based on macroscopic appearance; on digital rectal examination, 35% were benign, rectal ultrasound classified 15% as benign, and the preoperative biopsy was benign in 36%. Forty-three cancers (29%) were classified as low risk cancers. High ages were an indication for TEM in 22% and concurrent disease in 21%. Minor complications were encountered in 39 cases, major complications in 4 cases, and 1 patient died within 30 days.
All larger rectal tumors should be evaluated for malignancy before treatment, even if TEM is the only surgical option, due to high age and comorbidiy. Rectal ultrasound appears to produce the fewest false negative results, but it should be combined with biopsies and clinical evaluation. Multiple biopsies may be beneficial in the case of larger adenomas. When resecting large sessile tumors, there is a considerable risk of incomplete radicality. The short term mortality and morbidity of TEM is low even in old patients with comorbidiy.
KeywordsTEM Transanal endoscopic microsurgery Cancer Adenocarcinoma
Stein Magne Låstad, Anita Anfindsen and Ann Marie Jøgensen are gratefully acknowledged for construction of the Access database and data management. The study was financed by “The General Medical Research Foundation, University of Bergen”.
Conflict of interest statement