Aim: Studies analysing the outcome after resection of low rectal cancer that has not infiltrated the anal sphincter reveal poorer long-term outcomes after abdominoperineal resections (APR) in comparison with low anterior resections (LAR). Further, a relationship between the frequency of APR and LAR for low rectal cancer and hospital volume is known. Our aim was to investigate the independent impact of hospital volume and type of resection on oncological outcomes after resection of low rectal cancer.
Method: In a prospective multi-centre observational study of 1557 patients with low rectal cancer undergoing LAR or APR, the long-term oncological outcomes were analysed for their dependence on hospital volume and type of procedure.
Results: Univariate analysis revealed that patients undergoing APR had a higher local recurrence rate (p = 0.022) and shorter disease-free survival (p < 0.001) than patients undergoing LAR, while hospital volume showed merely a tendency to impact the local recurrence rate (p = 0.060). With regard to disease-free survival, no dependence on hospital volume was to be found (p = 0.201). The rate of APR was significantly associated with hospital volume (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed an independent impact of hospital volume on local recurrence rate, while disease-free survival was influenced by the type of surgical procedure performed.
Conclusion: In the surgical treatment of low rectal cancer the hospital volume has a major impact on outcome. The type of procedure does not affect the local recurrence rate but the disease free survival.