The purpose of this article was to review the prognostic factors of significance in rectal cancer.METHODS:
This is a retrospective review of various reports and an examination of our data.RESULTS:
Current imaging techniques with endorectal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging with a rectal probe, and possibly tagged monoclonal antibodies allow for presurgical assessment of the invasion of the rectal wall and detection of lymph node involvement.CONCLUSIONS:
Tumor penetration of the rectal wall and lymph node metastases are the most important prognostic indicators in rectal cancer and predict local and distant recurrences. When lymph node metastases occur, they are more common in small lymph nodes (<5 mm). Patients with lymph node metastases always need to be considered for multimodality therapy. Tumors larger than or equal to T3 or with associated lymph node metastases should not be treated with sphincter-saving surgical procedures alone.