PURPOSE: This study examines surgical salvage of locally recurrent rectal cancer following transanal excision of early tumors.
METHODS: Through retrospective review of a colorectal database we identified 50 patients who underwent attempted surgical salvage for local recurrence following initial transanal excision of T1 or T2 rectal cancer. Eight patients had resectable synchronous distant disease. Clinicopathologic variables were associated with extent of surgery required for salvage and outcome.
RESULTS: Salvage procedures included abdominoperineal resection (31), low anterior resection (11), total pelvic exenteration (4), and transanal excision (3). One patient had unresectable disease at exploration, requiring diverting ostomy. Of the 49 patients who underwent successful salvage, 27 (55 percent) required an extended pelvic dissection with en bloc resection of one or more of the following structures: pelvic sidewall and autonomic nerves (18); coccyx or portion of sacrum (6); prostate (5); seminal vesicle (5); bladder (4); portion of the vagina (3); ureter (2); ovary (1); and uterus (1). Complete pathologic resection (R0) was accomplished in 47 of 49 patients. Of the eight patients with distant and local recurrence, two underwent synchronous resection and six had delayed metastasectomy. With a median follow-up of 33 months, 29 patients had recurred or died of disease at the time of this analysis. Five-year disease-specific survival was 53 percent. Factors predictive of survival included evidence of any mucosal recurrence on endoscopy, low presalvage carcinoembryonic antigen, and absence of poor pathologic features (lymphovascular and perineural invasion). Patients who required an extended pelvic resection had a worse survival rate.
CONCLUSION: Pelvic recurrence following transanal excision of early rectal cancer is often locally advanced, requiring an extended pelvic dissection with en bloc resection of adjacent pelvic organs to achieve salvage. The long-term outcome in patients undergoing resection is less than expected, considering the early stage of their initial disease. When contemplating local excision for early rectal cancer, the risk of local recurrence, the extent and morbidity of surgery required for salvage, and the modest cure rate following salvage should be considered.
(C) The ASCRS 2005