Required distal mesorectal resection margin in partial mesorectal excision: a systematic review on distal mesorectal spread

A. A. J. Gruter*, A. S. van Lieshout, S. E. van Oostendorp, J. C. F. Ket, M. Tenhagen, F. C. den Boer, R. Hompes, P. J. Tanis, J. B. Tuynman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Background The required distal margin in partial mesorectal excision (PME) is controversial. The aim of this systematic review was to determine incidence and distance of distal mesorectal spread (DMS). Methods A systematic search was performed using PubMed, Embase and Google Scholar databases. Articles eligible for inclusion were studies reporting on the presence of distal mesorectal spread in patients with rectal cancer who underwent radical resection. Results Out of 2493 articles, 22 studies with a total of 1921 patients were included, of whom 340 underwent long-course neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT). DMS was reported in 207 of 1921 (10.8%) specimens (1.2% in CRT group and 12.8% in non-CRT group), with specified distance of DMS relative to the tumor in 84 (40.6%) of the cases. Mean and median DMS were 20.2 and 20.0 mm, respectively. Distal margins of 40 mm and 30 mm would result in 10% and 32% residual tumor, respectively, which translates into 1% and 4% overall residual cancer risk given 11% incidence of DMS. The maximum reported DMS was 50 mm in 1 of 84 cases. In subgroup analysis, for T3, the mean DMS was 18.8 mm (range 8-40 mm) and 27.2 mm (range 10-40 mm) for T4 rectal cancer. Conclusions DMS occurred in 11% of cases, with a maximum of 50 mm in less than 1% of the DMS cases. For PME, substantial overtreatment is present if a distal margin of 5 cm is routinely utilized. Prospective studies evaluating more limited margins based on high-quality preoperative magnetic resonance imaging and pathological assessment are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalTechniques in Coloproctology
Issue number1
Early online date29 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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