Aim: We present our experience in the treatment of rectal adenomas and selected cases of distal rectal cancer without evidence of nodal or distant metastasis (N0-M0) managed by transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM). This study examines our experience evaluating surgical morbidity, mortality and oncological outcome.
Methods: Eight hundred ten patients with rectal lesions (462 adenomas, 115 T1, 130 T2 and 103 T3) were enrolled. All patients staged preoperatively as T2 and T3 underwent preoperative high dose radiotherapy and since 1997 patients with less than 70 year old and good general conditions also preoperative chemotherapy.
Results: Minor complications were observed in 69 patients (8.5%) whereas major complications only in 5 patients (0.6%). Definitive histology confirmed adenomas in 431 cases (93%), while in 310 malignant lesions we had: 51 pT0 (14.7%), 127 pT1 (36.5%), 139 pT2 (39.9%) and 31 pT3 (8.9%). Sixteen (4.6%) patients (9 pT2 and 7 pT3) developed local recurrence whereas 6 (1.7%) patients distant metastasis. The survival rate at the end of follow-up was 100% for pT1 and 90% and 77% for pT2 and pT3 patients.
Conclusion: TEM is safe and effective for rectal adenomas not removable endoscopically. T1 cancer may undergo local excision alone, while T2 and T3 lesions require preoperative radiochemotherapy. The results reported seems to be not very different in terms of local recurrence and survival rate to those after conventional surgery.