[Excision of low rectal carcinomas with sphincter preservation. Multimodal strategy using neoadjuvant radiotherapy and "delayed" coloanal anastomosis without defunctioning stoma].
Over the past 20 years there have been many advances in the management of rectal cancer. The medico-surgical school in Lyon, France, has a long tradition in managing this malignancy. The progression of ideas and practices requires a better knowledge of the patterns of tumor spread and local recurrence. Technical advances have greatly helped to facilitate sphincter preservation. Advances in radiotherapy have led to its routine use in the preoperative period. This approach has now emerged as the best therapeutic sequence. Our experience concerns 46 patients with low rectal carcinoma treated with this strategy. There were no post-operative deaths and no leakage. One patient (2%) had a pelvic abscess. Median follow-up was 50 months (1-151). At five years, the local recurrence rate was 8.5% and the actuarial survival rate was 72%, with a local control rate of 91%. Functional outcome, evaluated with a scoring system, was good in 60% of cases at one year and 78% at 5 years. Quality of life, evaluated with the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons scale (A.S.C.R.S.), was 107 +/- 21 (range 33-140). The absence of defunctioning stoma (initial or late), good sexual and urinary well-being, and psychologic assessment are essential factors, requiring rigorous evaluation before the operation and specialized management after the operation. The proposed strategy based on this safe procedure and "French-type" neoadjuvant radiotherapy, permits sphincter preservation in patients with T2 and T3 tumors located near the dentate line, with good late oncological outcome. It is often amenable to the laparoscopic approach.