Impact of rectal washout on recurrence and survival after anterior resection for rectal cancer

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Background: Rectal washout (RW) is routinely performed during anterior resection (AR) for rectal cancer to reduce local recurrence (LR), although is sometimes not performed during minimally invasive surgery (MIS) procedures due to technical challenges and time consumption. The aim was to investigate the impact of RW on the oncological outcome after AR for rectal cancer in a registry cohort. Methods: Data on patients registered in the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry who had undergone elective radical (R0) AR for TNM stage I-III rectal cancer between 2007 and 2017 with a 3-year follow-up were analysed. Multivariable analyses were performed and the primary endpoint was LR at 3 and 5 years after AR. The occurrence of distant metastasis (DM) and overall recurrence (OAR), overall survival, and relative survival were also analysed as a secondary aim. A subgroup analysis was performed for the same outcomes in patients treated with MIS. Results: Out of 6186 patients (1923 with TNM stage I, 1907 with TNM stage II, and 2356 with TNM stage III), RW was performed in 5706 (92.2 per cent). The median age of the cohort was 67 years. RW did not impact the 3-year risk of LR. LR within 5 years occurred in 104 of 4583 patients (2.3 per cent) in the RW group compared with 16 of 408 patients (3.9 per cent) in the no RW group (P = 0.037). In multivariable analysis of the LR risk, the HR was 0.53 (95 per cent c.i. 0.31 to 0.90), favouring RW. There were no differences in rates of DM and OAR, overall survival, and relative survival. A subgroup analysis of the 1410 patients undergoing MIS did not demonstrate any differences between the groups, given, however, the low rate of LR. Conclusions: RW in AR for rectal cancer does not impact the 3-year oncological outcome; however, after the 5-year follow-up a reduction in LR risk was observed after RW.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzrac150
JournalBJS Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology


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