• Rectal cancer;
  • recurrence;
  • sacrectomy;
  • pelvic exenteration


Aim  There has been a steady increase in the number of centres that carry out resection of locally recurrent rectal cancer (LRRC). The aim of this review was to highlight the present management and suggest technical strategies that may improve survival and quality of life.

Method  The review identified relevant studies from an electronic search of MEDLINE and PubMed databases between 1980 and 2011. References in published articles were also reviewed.

Results  Surgical intervention offers the best hope to control LRRC but the proportion of patients offered this remains small. Certain contraindications previously considered to be absolute should now be thought of as relative.

Conclusion  Awareness of the surgical options and a willingness to consider more aggressive options may result in more patients being considered for potentially curative resection.