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Colorectal Dis. 2009 Jan;11(1):39-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2008.01520.x.

Local recurrence after abdomino-perineal resection.

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Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK.

Erratum in

  • Colorectal Dis. 2009 May;11(4):435. Harries, D [corrected to Harris, D].



Local recurrence of rectal cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality following curative resection. The published rates vary after abdomino-perineal resection (APR) from 5% to 47%. The aim of this study was to evaluate local recurrence following curative APR for low rectal cancer in our unit.


The medical notes of patients treated between 1st January 1996 and 31st December 2000 were retrieved. Local recurrence was defined as the presence of tumour within the pelvis confirmed by clinical findings, pathological specimen or radiological reports. A curative resection was defined as excision of tumour in the absence of macroscopic metastatic disease and whose resection margins were greater than 1 mm circumferentially and 10 mm distally. Outcomes and survival were compared using Fisher's exact test and Kaplan-Meier method.


Two hundred consecutive cases with a diagnosis of rectal cancer were identified of which 139 underwent a curative resection (69.5%). Of these 40 patients (28%) underwent APR with curative intent. Two patients (5%) developed local recurrence at 18 and 24 months respectively. The overall local recurrence rate for all curative rectal cancer surgery, in the same period was 2.6%. Eleven patients have died in the follow-up period of which nine were cancer-related deaths.


The local recurrence rates achieved with APR were not significantly different from those achieved with restorative operations. Tumours at the ano-rectal junction should not be dissected off the pelvic floor, but radically excised en bloc with the surrounding levator ani, as a cylinder, as originally described by Miles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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