[Oncologic and functional results of resections with direct delayed coloanal anastomosis in previously irradiated cancers of the lower rectum]

J Baulieux, E Olagne, C Ducerf, E De La Roche, M Adham, N Berthoux, O Bourdeix, J P Gérard
Chirurgie; Mémoires de L'Académie de Chirurgie 1999, 124 (3): 240-50; discussion 251

AIM OF THE STUDY: The aim of this study was to assess the oncology and functional outcome after preoperative radiotherapy and delayed coloanal anastomosis for cancers of the lower third of the rectum.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: From January 1988 to December 1997, 35 patients received preoperative radiotherapy (45 Gy) followed by rectal resection through a combined abdominal and transanal approach. Thirty patients had preoperative tumor staging with endorectal ultrasonography: uT1N0 = 2, uT2N0 = 6, uT2N+ = 2, uT3N0 = 6, and uT3N+ = 14. Colorectal resection was performed on average 32 days after the conclusion of radiotherapy, and the distal colon stump was pulled through the anal canal. On postoperative day 5, the colonic stump was resected and a direct coloanal anastomosis performed.

RESULTS: Pathological examination of the specimens revealed complete tumor sterilization in two cases, pT1N0 = 3, pT2N0 = 14, pT2N+ = 1, pT3N0 = 6, and pT3N+ = 9. There was no postoperative mortality and there was no leakage. One patient had a pelvic abscess, and another one had left colon necrosis which required re-operation. Median follow-up was 43 months (range 6-113). Two patients had locoregional recurrence, seven had distant metastasis, and 3 had both. Actuarial survival rate at 1, 3 and 5 years was 97%, 86%, and 72% respectively. The rate of local control at 5 years was 78%. Functional results were evaluated by a new scoring system. Function was considered good in 59 and 70% at 1 and 2 years respectively.

CONCLUSION: This new procedure is a safe and effective sphincter-preserving operation that avoids a diverting stoma. It is well adapted for patients receiving preoperative radiotherapy, with low local morbidity and good functional results.

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