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Keywords:

  • rectal cancer;
  • recurrent cancer;
  • pelvic exenteration;
  • continence restoration

Abstract

Background

The management of locally recurrent rectal cancer should achieve local tumor control and potentially improving disease-free and overall survival. Radical pelvic resection has traditionally been associated with permanent fecal and urinary diversion. However, as advanced techniques have evolved to allow restoration of intestinal and urinary continence, we reviewed the use of these techniques in patients with recurrent rectal cancer.

Methods

Patients with recurrent rectal cancer who underwent a resection at Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center between 1993 and 1999 were retrospectively reviewed. Data collected included demographic data, surgical and oncological history, patterns of recurrence, treatment modalities, and outcome. Follow-up data was obtained from the last clinic visit and/or tumor registry.

Results

Sixty-seven patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer (male/female 45/22, age 32–81 years) were included in the analysis. Continence was re-established in 22 (33%) patients, urinary continence was restored in 12 patients, and intestinal continuity in 14 patients (both in 4 patients). A temporary diverting ostomy was necessary in 5 out of 14 (36%) patients. Mortality was zero and morbidity was low and included two urinary leaks and one fecal leak all of which could be managed non-operatively. At a median follow-up of 16 months (range 5–55), 11 (50%) patients were still alive, 7 (31%) without evidence of disease. Comparison of the groups of patients either with or without continence preservation showed no statistically significant difference in disease-free survival and overall survival rates. High quality of life was achieved with restoration of continuity, no patient with restored continuity expressed a desire for a diversion.

Conclusion

If an oncologically adequate resection of the recurrent rectal cancer can be performed without impairment of the pelvic floor integrity, continence preservation is feasible and results in good functional and oncological outcome. J. Surg. Oncol. 2005;92:76–81. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.