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Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2007 Aug;20(3):143-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-984858.

Multidisciplinary teams in the management of rectal cancer.

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Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


A myriad of advances in the treatment of rectal cancer have been achieved over the last few decades. The introduction of total mesorectal excision (TME) has resulted in significant improvements in local recurrence. Surgical education on the technique has made it the standard of care. Radiation and chemotherapy combined with TME have improved results even further with stage II and III cancers. Sphincter-sparing techniques, reservoir procedures, local treatment advances, minimally invasive techniques, surgery for metastatic disease, newer chemotherapies, and extended resections for locally advanced and recurrent lesions, have all benefited the patient with rectal cancer. The goal and responsibility of colorectal surgeons treating rectal cancer patients is to understand and coordinate the wide variety of modalities available to optimize survival, minimize morbidity, and maximize quality of life for those with this difficult problem. Coordination of specialists in this time of evolution in rectal cancer treatment becomes more important than ever. Here the authors briefly review the role of the multidisciplinary team, discuss a model multidisciplinary team approach and look at evidence supporting team use as we begin this issue devoted to the multidisciplinary management of rectal cancer.


Multidisciplinary teams; rectal cancer; total mesorectal excision; tumor board

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