Locally recurrent rectal cancer and distant metastases: is there still a chance ofcure?

J. M. van Rees*, S. Nordkamp, P. W. Harmsen, H. Rutten, J. W.A. Burger, C. Verhoef

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer (LRRC) generally have poor prognosis, especially those who have (a history of) distant metastases. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of distant metastases on oncological outcomes in LRRC patients undergoing curative treatment. Methods: Consecutive patients with surgically treated LRRC between 2005 and 2019 in two tertiary referral hospitals were retrospectively analysed. Oncological survival of patients without distant metastases were compared with outcomes of patients with synchronous distant metastases with the primary tumour, patients with distant metastases in the primary-recurrence interval, and patients with synchronous LRRC distant metastases. Results: A total of 535 LRRC patients were analysed, of whom 398 (74%) had no (history of) metastases, 22 (4%) had synchronous metastases with the primary tumour, 44 (8%) had metachronous metastases, and 71 (13%) had synchronous LRRC metastases. Patients with synchronous LRRC metastases had worse survival compared to patients without metastases (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.56 [1.15–2.12]), whilst survival of patients with synchronous primary metastases and metachronous metastases of the primary tumour was similar as those patients who had no metastases. In LRRC patients who had metastases in primary-recurrence interval, patients with early metachronous metastases had better disease-free survival as patients with late metachronous metastases (3-year disease-free survival: 48% vs 22%, p = 0.039). Conclusion: LRRC patients with synchronous distant metastases undergoing curative surgery have relatively poor prognosis. However, LRRC patients with a history of distant metastases diagnosed nearby the primary tumour have comparable (oncological) survival as LRRC patients without distant metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106865
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number9
Early online date11 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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