Aim This study aimed to evaluate circumferential resection margin (CRM) involvement in patients with rectal adenocarcinoma after laparoscopic abdominoperineal excision (APR).
Method Prospectively collected data were analyzed on consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic APR for histologically proven rectal cancer following neoadjuvant chemotherapy, from 1998 to 2006. Patients with no sphincter involvement were not included and underwent intersphincteric resection with coloanal anastomosis. CRM involvement was defined as ≤ 2 mm using a standardized pathology protocol. Data were presented as mean ± SD or as median (range).
Results Seventy-four patients (60 ± 14 years of age; body mass index = 29.7 ± 7.9 kg/m2) underwent laparoscopic APR. The distance of the tumour from the anal verge was 3.1 ± 0.93 cm. All patients had sphincter involvement. The operative time was 180 ± 73 min, and estimated blood loss was 269 ± 149 ml. There were no conversions and no postoperative mortality. The adverse event rate was 11%. There were two reoperations and three readmissions. Seventy-one patients had a T3 tumour and three patients had a T4 tumour. The median tumour size was 3.1 (range, 0–10) × 3 (range, 0–8.5) × 2 (range, 0–3.6) cm, and 26 (range, 3–41) lymph nodes were harvested. The median CRM was 7 (range, 1–11) mm. This was localized at the waist of the specimen in 12 (16.2%) of patients. Adjuvant therapy was given to 92% and 97% of patients with an involved and an uninvolved CRM, respectively. At 50 ± 27 months of follow up of 73 patients, 12 had CRM involvement and had a significantly decreased cancer-specific survival (log rank test, P = 0.002).
Conclusion Laparoscopic APR resulted in CRM involvement in 16.2% of patients with rectal cancer.