Objective: Total mesorectal excision (TME) as proposed by R.J. Heald more than 20 years ago, is nowadays accepted worldwide for optimal rectal cancer surgery. This technique is focused on an intact package of the tumour and its main lymphatic drainage. This concept can be translated into colon cancer surgery, as the mesorectum is only part of the mesenteric planes which cover the colon and its lymphatic drainage like envelopes. According to the concept of TME for rectal cancer, we perform a concept of complete mesocolic excision (CME) for colonic cancer. This technique aims at the separation of the mesocolic from the parietal plane and true central ligation of the supplying arteries and draining veins right at their roots.
Method: Prospectively obtained data from 1329 consecutive patients of our department with RO-resection of colon cancer between 1978 and 2002 were analysed. Patient data of three subdivided time periods were compared.
Results: By consequent application of the procedure of CME, we were able to reduce local 5-year recurrence rates in colon cancer from 6.5% in the period from 1978 to 1984 to 3.6% in 1995 to 2002. In the same period, the cancer related 5-year survival rates in patients resected for cure increased from 82.1% to 89.1%.
Conclusion: The technique of CME in colon cancer surgery aims at a specimen with intact layers and a maximum of lymphnode harvest. This is translated into lower local recurrence rates and better overall survival.