Long-term results of local excision for rectal cancer
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Practice Guidelines as Topic
Ten-year local recurrence and survival rates were 17% and 74% for T1 rectal cancers and 26% and 72% for T2 cancers. Median time to relapse was 1.4 years (range 0.4-7.0) for local recurrence and 2.5 years (0.8-7.5) for distant recurrence. In patients receiving radiotherapy, local recurrence was delayed (median 2.1 years vs. 1.1 years), but overall rates of local and overall recurrence and survival rates were similar to patients not receiving radiotherapy. Among 26 cancer deaths, 8 (28%) occurred more than 5 years after local excision. On multivariate analysis, no clinical or pathologic features were predictive of local recurrence. Intratumoral vascular invasion was the only significant predictor of survival. Among 34 patients who developed tumor recurrence, the pattern of first clinical recurrence was predominantly local: 50% local only, 18% local and distant, and 32% distant only. Among the 17 patients with isolated local recurrence, 14 underwent salvage resection. Actuarial survival among these surgically salvaged patients was 30% at 6 years after salvage. CONCLUSIONS The long-term risk of recurrence after local excision of T1 and T2 rectal cancers is substantial. Two thirds of patients with tumor recurrence have local failure, implicating inadequate resection in treatment failure. In this study, neither adjuvant radiotherapy nor salvage surgery was reliable in preventing or controlling local recurrence. The postoperative interval to cancer death is as long as 10 years, raising concern that cancer mortality may be higher than is generally appreciated. Additional treatment strategies are needed to improve the outcome of local excision.