Rectal Cancer : Surgical Strategies and Histopathological Aspects

Sammanfattning: The management of rectal cancer has changed in many countries over the last two decades and resulted in improved survival for the majority of rectal cancer patients. In this thesis some surgical strategies and histopathological aspects to improve and clarify the management of rectal cancer patients are investigated. Even in the era of TME surgery and radiotherapy, a higher local recurrence rate and shorter survival for rectal cancer patients operated with abdominoperineal resection is reported. In the first paper we describe a new strategy with partial anterior en bloc resection of either the prostate or the vagina, resulting in very low local recurrence rates and excellent long-term survival. Histopathological examination of the specimen lays the foundation for decision making on oncological therapy. A positive circumferential resection margin (CRM) has, in previous papers, been related to a high risk of local recurrence. In the second paper we show that a CRM ≤ 1 mm was not correlated with an increased risk of local recurrence when patients were managed in a multidisciplinary setting with preoperative radiotherapy and optimal TME surgery. As the complexity of rectal cancer management is increasing, demands on organizational structure are growing. In paper three we could show that long-term survival was increased for all rectal cancer patients after the centralization to a single unit. Whether or not to resect the primary rectal tumour in patients with metastatic disease is an ongoing debate in the literature. In paper four, we studied the national management of rectal cancer patients with primary metastatic disease. Nineteen per cent of rectal cancer patients present with Stage IV disease and, at a national level, there is a clear shift to a more selective and restrictive approach. The 30-day mortality was low for patients that underwent a resectional surgery, for patients having an exploratory laparotomy, however, it was high. Overall survival was improved over time even though up to one fourth of patients received no surgical treatment.