Low rate of local recurrence detection by rectoscopy in follow-up of rectal cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Aim: The main aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of rectoscopy for detecting local recurrence of rectal cancer in patients following low anterior resection. Method: This was a retrospective study of 201 patients, who underwent low anterior resection for rectal or rectosigmoid cancer between 2007 and 2009 and who were followed up with rigid rectoscopy and imaging. A total of 91 patients were excluded from the analysis for various reasons, leaving 110 patients eligible for analysis. Results: A total of 613 rectoscopies were performed, and 48 biopsies taken. Six local recurrences were detected in the 110 patients, three of which were first detected by rectoscopy and three by CT. Two of the local recurrences were detected outside the follow‐up programme because of symptoms: one by rectoscopy and one by CT. Three of 613 (0.5%) rectoscopies led to detection of local recurrence. The sensitivity and specificity of rectoscopy to detect local recurrence was 0.50 and 0.93, respectively. Nineteen distant metastases were detected, and two patients had both local recurrence and distant metastasis. All local recurrences and distant metastases were detected within 48 months of surgery. Conclusion: Rigid rectoscopy is poor at detecting local recurrence. Only 3 out of 613 rectoscopies (0.5%) detected local recurrence. Due to extramural growth of some recurrences, the sensitivity is also very low. Based on our results, routine rectoscopy in the surveillance of asymptomatic patients cannot be recommended.