T3N0 Rectal Cancer: Results Following Sharp Mesorectal Excision and No Adjuvant Therapy

Nipun B. Merchant, Jose G. Guillem, Phillip B. Paty, Warren E. Enker, Bruce D. Minsky, Stuart H.Q. Quan, Douglas Wong, Alfred M. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Adjuvant chemoradiation therapy following resection of T3N0 rectal cancer is recommended in order to reduce the incidence of local recurrence and improve survival. However, recent experience with rectal cancer resection utilizing sharp dissection and total mesorectal excision has resulted in a reduction in local recurrence rates to as low as 5% without adjuvant treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine if rectal cancer resection utilizing sharp mesorectal excision alone is adequate treatment for local control of T3N0 rectal cancer. Between July 1986 and December 1993, 95 patients with T3N0M0 rectal cancer underwent resection with sharp mesorectal excision and did not receive any adjuvant therapy. Various prognostic factors were analyzed for their association with local recurrence and survival. Seventy-nine patients had a low anterior resection, 10 of whom had a coloanal anastomosis, and 16 had an abdominoperineal resection. The median follow-up was 53.3 months. Six patients had local recurrence, 12 had distant recurrence, and three had local and distant recurrences. The overall local recurrence rate was 9% crude and 12% 5-year actuarial. The overall crude recurrence rate was 22%. The 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 86.6% with an overall survival of 75%. Postoperative complications occurred in 18 patients (19%). Five patients (6%) had a documented anastomotic leak. Perioperative mortality was 3%. No technical factors, including type of resection (low anterior vs. abdominoperineal), location of tumor, or extent of resection margin, were significant for determining local recurrence. The only histopathologic marker significant for determining local recurrence was lymphatic invasion (P <0.04). Sharp mesorectal excision with low anterior resection or abdominoperineal resection for T3N0M0 rectal cancer results in a local recurrence rate of less than 10% without the use of adjuvant therapy. Therefore, in select patients with T3N0M0 rectal cancer, the standard use of adjuvant therapy for local control may not be justified. warning(J GASTROINTEST SURG 1999;3:642-647.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Mesorectal excision
  • Radiation therapy
  • Rectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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