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Regional lymph node metastasis and locoregional recurrence of rectal carcinoma in the era of TME [corrected] surgery. Implications for treatment decisions.

Hermanek P, et al. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2010.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: For rectal carcinoma treated according to the concept of total mesorectal excision (TME surgery), the independent influence of regional lymph node metastasis on the locoregional recurrence risk is still in discussion. A reliable assessment of this risk is important for an individualised selective indication for neoadjuvant radio-/radiochemotherapy.

METHODS: Analysis of literature, especially of the last 20 years, and consideration of pathological and oncological basic research. Multivariate analysis of data of the Erlangen Registry of Colorectal Carcinoma.

RESULTS: The clinical assessment of the pretherapeutic regional lymph node status by the present available imaging methods is still unreliable. The analysis of the association between pretherapeutic regional lymph node status and locoregional recurrence risk has to be based on follow-up data of patients treated by primary surgery and has to be distinguished between patients treated by conventional and optimised quality-assured TME surgery, respectively. Data from Erlangen show an increase of the local recurrence risk for patients with at least four involved regional lymph nodes.

CONCLUSIONS: For patients with at least four involved regional lymph nodes, a neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy may be indicated. However, today, the pretherapeutic diagnosis is uncertain and results in overtherapy in 40%. Thus, in case of positive lymph node findings by imaging methods, the benefits and risk of neoadjuvant therapy in such situations should always be discussed with the patient in the sense of informed consent and shared decision.


20012295 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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  • Int J Colorectal Dis. 2010 Jun;25(6):783.