Local excision of rectal cancer: review of literature

Dig Surg. 2005;22(1-2):6-15. doi: 10.1159/000084345. Epub 2005 Mar 9.


In selected patients, local excision of rectal cancer may be an alternative to radical surgery such as abdominoperineal excision of the rectum or anterior resection. Local excision carries lower mortality and morbidity, without the functional disturbance or alteration in body image that can be associated with radical surgery. There are several techniques of local therapy for rectal cancer, with most experience being available in transanal excision. Transanal endoscopic microsurgery is also used but experience with this newer technique is limited. Patient selection is the most important factor in successful local excision, however specific criteria for selecting patients have not been universally accepted. Review of the published literature is difficult because of the variation in adjuvant therapy regimes and follow-up strategies, as well as results reported in terms of local recurrence and survival rates. There is increasing evidence to suggest that local excision should be restricted to patients with T1 stage rectal cancer without high-risk factors. The place for local excision in patients with T2 or high-risk T1 tumours requires prospective, randomised multi-centre trials comparing radical surgery with local excision, with or without adjuvant therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Microsurgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Patient Selection
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome