Clinical and molecular prognostic factors in sphincter-preserving surgery for rectal cancer.

TitleClinical and molecular prognostic factors in sphincter-preserving surgery for rectal cancer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsJessup JM, Loda M, Bleday R
JournalSemin Radiat Oncol
Date Published1998 Jan
KeywordsAdenocarcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous, Anal Canal, Anastomosis, Surgical, Biomarkers, Tumor, Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Clinical Protocols, Colon, Combined Modality Therapy, Diagnostic Imaging, Humans, Molecular Biology, Multicenter Studies as Topic, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Neoplasm Staging, Patient Selection, Probability, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Radiotherapy Dosage, Radiotherapy, Adjuvant, Rectal Neoplasms, Remission Induction, Safety, Survival Rate

As many as a third of patients with rectal cancers may be candidates for sphincter preservation surgery. The goal of the conservative management of adenocarcinoma of the distal rectum is to preserve rectal sphincter function without sacrificing local tumor control. To achieve this goal, a combined modality approach is necessary because multimodality therapy for more advanced disease has improved both local control and survival. Candidates for local excision are those with adenocarcinomas with a maximal diameter of less than 4 cm, mobile, and not poorly differentiated or mucinous and within 10 cm of the anal verge--usually within 6 cm. These criteria should be defined objectively by biopsy combined with state-of-the-art endorectal imaging. Newer molecular markers that are associated with prognosis and response to therapy may also be important for assessing prognosis, probability of local recurrence, and whether conservative treatment is appropriate. Patients with T0-3 N0 lesions meeting these standard clinicopathologic criteria have been treated successfully with wide local excision combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Patients with larger or more advanced lesions may undergo low anterior resection with coloanal anastomosis. After resection, radiotherapy to at least 45 to 50 Gy is delivered to the pelvis and tumor bed often with concomitant chemotherapy. The overall rate of local failure in prospective single-institution trials in which local excision is performed with postoperative chemoradiotherapy has been 5% for T1 lesions, 7% for T2 lesions and 24% for T3 lesions. Although single-institution studies have supported the concept of conservative therapy, the safety and efficacy of this approach must still be confirmed in a multicenter, prospective trial, such as that underway in several of the cooperative oncology groups, before it may be considered a standard of practice.

Alternate JournalSemin Radiat Oncol
PubMed ID9516585
Related Faculty: 
Massimo Loda, M.D.

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 1300 York Avenue New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6464
Surgical Pathology: (212) 746-2700