BACKGROUND: A multimodality approach to patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer that includes surgery is associated with a significant survival advantage when tumor-free margins are achieved. Patients with advanced tumors will require extended sacropelvic resection to optimize oncologic outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the safety, feasibility, and oncologic outcomes of extended sacropelvic resection for locally recurrent rectal cancer at our institution.
DESIGN: A retrospective review identified 406 patients who had surgery for locally recurrent rectal cancer between 1997 and 2007. From this group, all patients who underwent a curative-intent sacropelvic resection were analyzed.
SETTINGS: This investigation was conducted at an academic tertiary referral center.
PATIENTS: Thirty patients (24 male) were identified. Median age was 59 years (range, 25–84). Operations were performed for a first local recurrence (n = 24), a second recurrence (n = 5) and for a third recurrence (n = 1).
INTERVENTIONS: Twenty-six patients underwent neoadjuvant radiation, and 20 received intraoperative radiation therapy. All patients underwent extended sacropelvic resection.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes measured were early (<30 days) and late (>30 days) surgical complications. Overall and disease-free survivals were estimated by using the Kaplan-Meier technique.
RESULTS: Margin-negative resection was achieved in 93%. The most proximal level of spinal transection was the fourth lumbar space, and 4 patients underwent lower extremity amputation. There was no mortality, and early morbidity was seen in 76%. Median follow-up was 2.7 years (range, 2 months to 10.8 years). Overall survival at 2 and 5 years was 86% and 46%. Disease-free survival at 2 and 5 years was 79% and 43%.
LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by its retrospective nature and the limited number of patients.
CONCLUSIONS: We found extended sacropelvic resection for locally recurrent rectal cancer to be feasible and safe with overall and disease-free survival rates in comparison with survival rates seen in patients undergoing nonsacropelvic resections for locally recurrent rectal cancer.