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Ann Pathol. 2011 Dec;31(6):433-41. doi: 10.1016/j.annpat.2011.10.010. Epub 2011 Nov 26.

[Locally advanced rectal cancer management: which role for the pathologist in 2011?].

[Article in French]

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Service de pathologie, CRLC Val-d'Aurelle, Montpellier, France.


Locally advanced rectal cancers mainly correspond to lieberkünhien adenocarcinomas and are defined by T3-T4 lesions with or without regional metastatic lymph nodes. Such tumors benefit from neoadjuvant treatment combining chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by surgery with total mesorectum excision. Such a strategy can decrease the rate of local relapse and lead to an easier complementary surgery. The pathologist plays an important role in the management of locally advanced rectal cancer. Indeed, he is involved in the gross examination of the mesorectum excision quality and in the exhaustive sampling of the most informative areas. He also has to perform a precise histopathological analysis, including the determination of the circumferential margin or clearance and the evaluation of tumor regression. All these parameters are major prognostic factors which have to be clearly included in the pathology report. Moreover, the next challenge for the pathologist will be to determine and validate new prognostic and predictive markers, notably by using pre-therapeutic biopsies. The goal of this mini-review is to emphasize the pathologist's role in the different steps of the management of locally advanced rectal cancers and to underline its implication in the determination of potential biomarkers of aggressiveness and response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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