Background: In patients undergoing total mesorectal excision (TME), the clinical variables most relevant to anastomotic recurrence have not been identified. We evaluated factors associated with anastomotic recurrence in patients undergoing TME and the impact of a reduced distal margin on anastomotic recurrence. Methods: Thirty-eight patients with anastomotic recurrence were compared with 876 patients who received curative rectal cancer surgery. Patients were compared according to: (1) the presence of anastomotic recurrence (recurrence vs. recurrence-free), (2) distal margin length (≤10 mm vs. >10 mm) and (3) additional treatment (none, adjuvant, or neoadjuvant). The risk factors for anastomotic recurrence were analyzed. Results: In the recurrence group, an advanced T stage (T3 and T4) (P = 0.01) microscopic distal margin involvement (P = 0.002) and an elevated CEA level (>5 ng/ml) (P = 0.04) were more commonly found. The incidence of anastomotic recurrence was not higher in the distal margin ≤10 mm group and did not differ according to additional treatment. The multivariate analysis showed that an advanced T stage (T3 and T4) and microscopic distal margin involvement were risk factors for anastomotic recurrence. Conclusion: A distal margin ≤10 mm appears to be acceptable in terms of anastomotic recurrence. Patients with a positive distal margin, on the postoperative pathology, should be considered at high risk for anastomotic recurrence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes