Total rectal resection and complete mesorectum excision followed by coloendoanal anastomosis as the optimal treatment for low rectal cancer: The experience of the National Cancer Institute of Milano

Ermanno Leo, Filiberto Belli, Salvatore Andreola, Gianfrancesco Gallino, Giuliano Bonfanti, Franca Ferro, Elisabetta Zingaro, Grazia Sirizzotti, Enrico Civelli, Francesca Valvo, Mary Gios, Cinzia Brunelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: At present, abdominoperineal resection remains the most diffuse method of treatment of very low rectal cancer. Today, we can avoid this method in some patients by using a sphincter-saving procedure. Methods: From March 1990 to January 1999, 273 consecutive total rectal resections and coloendoanal anastomoses were performed at our Institute; this study concerns 141 consecutive patients treated for a primary adenocarcinoma of the distal rectum, from 3.5 to 8 cm from the anal verge. Patient stratification, based on definitive pathological report, was 31 Dukes' stage A (T2N0), 44 stage B (T3N0), and 66 stage C (T2N+-T3N+). Results: Overall recurrence rate was 9.2%; postoperative morbidity attributable to the procedure was low. A perfect continence was documented in 61% of cases. The only pathological factor related to local recurrence rate is peritumoral lymphocytic reaction inside and around the tumor (P = .0005 and .031) independently from the number of metastatic lymph nodes, depth of fatty tissue infiltration, and lymphatic and venous neoplastic emboli. The minimum follow-up time is 12 months. Conclusions: Our data, in accordance with other authors, seem to highlight the relevant role that a well-practiced surgery, together with accurate information on the spreading of this disease, has in achieving an optimal local control of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000



  • Coloanal anastomosis
  • Rectal surgery
  • Rectal tumor
  • Rectum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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