The present study explored the benefit of preoperative chemoradiotherapy (PCRT) for sphincter preservation in locally advanced low-lying rectal cancer patients who underwent stapled anastomosis, especially in those with deep and narrow pelvises determined by magnetic resonance imaging.
Patients with locally advanced low-lying rectal cancer (≤5 cm from the anal verge) who underwent stapled anastomosis were included. Patients were categorized into two groups (PCRT+ vs. PCRT–) according to PCRT application. Patients in the PCRT+ group were matched to those in the PCRT– group according to potential confounding factors (age, gender, clinical stage, and body mass index) for sphincter preservation. Sphincter preservation, permanent stoma, and anastomosis-related complications were compared between the groups. Pelvic magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure 12 dimensions representing pelvic cavity depth and width with which deep and narrow pelvis was defined. The impact of PCRT on sphincter preservation and permanent stoma in pelvic dimensions defined as deep and narrow pelvis was evaluated, and factors associated with sphincter preservation and permanent stoma were analyzed.
One hundred sixty-six patients were one-to-one matched between the PCRT+ and PCRT− groups. Overall, sphincter-saving surgery was performed in 66.3% and the rates were not different between the 2 groups. Anastomotic complications and permanent stoma occurred nonsignificantly more frequently in the PCRT+ group. PCRT was not associated with higher rate of sphincter preservation in all pelvic dimensions defined as deep and narrow pelvis, while PCRT was related to higher rate of permanent stoma in shorter transverse diameter and interspinous distance. On logistic regression analysis, PCRT was not shown to influence both sphincter preservation and permanent stoma, while longer transverse diameter and interspinous distance were associated with lower rate of permanent stoma.
PCRT had no beneficial effect on sphincter preservation in patients with locally advanced low-lying rectal cancer who had undergone stapled anastomosis. In patients with deep and narrow pelvis, PCRT had no impact on sphincter preservation but was associated with higher rate of permanent stoma.