Ann Coloproctol.  2019 Oct;35(5):229-237. 10.3393/ac.2019.10.16.

Reconsideration of the Safety of Laparoscopic Rectal Surgery for Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Pusan National University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Surgery, St. Vincent's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Surgery, Myongji Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.
  • 4Department of Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


The oncological outcomes of laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery were evaluated in recent multicenter randomized clinical trials (RCTs). The MRC-CLASSIC, COLOR II, and COREAN trials found no differences in local recurrence or disease-free survival rate between laparoscopic and open surgery. However, the noninferiority of laparoscopic surgery with respect to open surgery for rectal cancer was not established on statistical analysis in the ACOSOG Z6051 and the ALaCaRT trials. Quality of total mesorectal excision (TME) is one of the most important prognostic factors. Incomplete TME had unfavorable oncologic outcomes compared to complete TME. Although TME quality can be clearly identified on pathologic evaluation, there is controversy regarding the acceptable range of oncologically safe TME for laparoscopic surgery. It is not certain whether near-complete TME has an unfavorable oncologic impact and whether laparoscopic surgery with near-complete TME is an oncological threat. Therefore, the surgical community will be interested in the long-term outcomes and meta-analyses of ongoing large-scale RCTs. Laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery has been steadily improving its safety for oncology surgery, which has been reported consistently in various multicenter RCTs. To improve surgical quality, colorectal surgeons should choose the most appropriate surgical technique, including laparoscopic surgery.


Laparoscopy; Rectal neoplasms; Surgical procedure; Quality control; Treatment outcome

MeSH Terms

Disease-Free Survival
Quality Control
Rectal Neoplasms
Treatment Outcome
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