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Locally advanced rectal cancer: management challenges

Authors Kokelaar RF, Evans MD, Davies M, Harris DA, Beynon J

Received 14 July 2016

Accepted for publication 5 September 2016

Published 13 October 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 6265—6272

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S100806

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho


RF Kokelaar, MD Evans, M Davies, DA Harris, J Beynon

Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK

Abstract: Between 5% and 10% of patients with rectal cancer present with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC), and 10% of rectal cancers recur after surgery, of which half are limited to locoregional disease only (locally recurrent rectal cancer). Exenterative surgery offers the best long-term outcomes for patients with LARC and locally recurrent rectal cancer so long as a complete (R0) resection is achieved. Accurate preoperative multimodal staging is crucial in assessing the potential operability of advanced rectal tumors, and resectability may be enhanced with neoadjuvant therapies. Unfortunately, surgical options are limited when the tumor involves the lateral pelvic sidewall or high sacrum due to the technical challenges of achieving histological clearance, and must be balanced against the high morbidity associated with resection of the bony pelvis and significant lymphovascular structures. This group of patients is usually treated palliatively and subsequently survival is poor, which has led surgeons to seek innovative new solutions, as well as revisit previously discarded radical approaches. A small number of centers are pioneering new techniques for resection of beyond-total mesorectal excision tumors, including en bloc resections of the sciatic notch and composite resections of the first two sacral vertebrae. Despite limited experience, these new techniques offer the potential for radical treatment of previously inoperable tumors. This narrative review sets out the challenges facing the management of LARCs and discusses evolving management options.

Keywords: rectal cancer, exenteration, pelvic sidewall, sacrectomy

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