Objectives: Local recurrence after transanal excision of rectal cancer is often amenable to salvage radical proctectomy, but the long-term results remain unknown. This study was designed to determine the outcome of salvage radical surgery after failed local excision in patients with early rectal cancer.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 29 patients who underwent salvage radical surgery for local recurrence after a full-thickness transanal excision for Stage I rectal cancer. End points included local and distant recurrences and disease-free survival after salvage radical surgery. Comparisons between groups were performed by chi-squared test.
Results: Recurrence involved the rectal wall in 26 patients (90 percent) and was purely extrarectal in only 3 (10 percent). Mean time between local excision and radical operation was 26 months. The resection was considered curative in 23 patients (79 percent). The stage of the recurrent tumor was more advanced than the primary tumor in 27 patients (93 percent). At a mean follow-up of 39 (range, 2-147) months after radical surgery, 17 patients (59 percent) remained free of disease. The disease-free survival rate was 68 percent for patients with tumors with favorable histology vs. 29 percent for patients with tumors with unfavorable histology.
Conclusion: Salvage surgery for recurrence after local excision of rectal cancers may not provide results equivalent to those of initial radical treatment. In the present study the poor results of salvage surgery emphasize the importance of appropriate selection of the initial treatment of Stage I rectal cancer.