Long-term results of transanal excision after neoadjuvant chemoradiation for T2 and T3 adenocarcinomas of the rectum

Rajesh M Nair, Erin M Siegel, Dung-Tsa Chen, William J Fulp, Timothy J Yeatman, Mokenge P Malafa, Jorge Marcet, David Shibata
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2008, 12 (10): 1797-805; discussion 1805-6

INTRODUCTION: Traditionally, selected early distal rectal cancers have been considered for treatment by transanal excision (TAE) with acceptable oncologic results. With the frequent use of neoadjuvant chemoradiation (NCR) for the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer, there is growing interest in the application of TAE for such lesions. We report our experience of TAE for T2 and T3 rectal cancers following NCR.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between July 1994 and August 2006, 44 patients were identified as having undergone full-thickness TAE of pretreatment ultrasound-staged T2 and T3 rectal cancers that were treated with NCR. Fifteen patients were deemed medically unfit for radical resection, and 29 would have required abdominoperineal resection but were opposed to colostomy.

RESULTS: Our patient population consisted of 26 men and 18 women, with a median age of 69 (range, 43-89) and a median follow up of 64 months (6-153). Thirty-one patients had a clinical complete response (cCR) to NCR of which 19 (61%) had a pathologic CR (pCR). Seven (16%) of 44 patients sustained disease recurrence of which two were local only, two local and systemic, and three systemic only. Only four (9%) patients had died of disease at current follow up. Overall 5-year survival rates for T2/T3N0 and T2/T3N1 patients were 84% and 81%, respectively. Five patients underwent radical resection immediately following TAE for either positive margins or residual cancer. There was minimal morbidity with no perioperative mortality associated with TAE.

CONCLUSIONS: TAE of T2 and T3 rectal cancers following NCR is a safe alternative to radical resection in a highly select group of patients for which recurrence and survival rates comparable to radical resection can be achieved. This study supports ongoing efforts to assess this approach in prospective, multi-center trials.

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