Background: This study aimed to evaluate the long-term risk of local and distant recurrence as well as the survival of patients with early rectal cancer treated using transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM).
Methods: The study reviewed 69 patients with Tis/T1/T2 rectal cancer treated using full-thickness excision between 1991 and 1999. The pathology T-stages included 25 Tis, 23 T1, and 21 T2. The median follow-up period was 6.5 years (range 5-10.2 years).
Results: The overall local recurrence rate was 8.7%. The 5-year local recurrence rate was 8% for Tis, 8.6% for T1, and 9.5% for T2. All six patients with recurrence were managed surgically. The 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 100% for Tis, 100% for T1, and 70% for T2. The overall cancer-related mortality rate was 7.2%.
Conclusions: After local excision of early rectal cancer, a substantial local recurrence rate is observed. Patients with recurrent Tis/T1 cancers who undergo a salvage operation may achieve good long-term outcome. Local treatment without adjuvant therapy for T2 rectal cancers appears inadequate.