Korean J Gastroenterol.  2006 Apr;47(4):245-247.

Recent Progress in Diagnosis and Treatment of Rectal Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. namkyuk@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr


Rectal cancer is an emerging health issue in Korea because its incidence is rapidly increasing with changes in life styles and diets. The optimal treatment of rectal cancer is based on multimodality. Among them, surgical treatment is the corner-stone. In the past, local recurrence rate has been reported as high as 30-40%, but the concept of total mesorectal excision (TME) lowered the rate of local recurrence down to less than 10%. TME focuses on sharp pelvic dissection and complete removal of rectal cancer with surrounding mesorectum inside the rectal proper fascia. TME is now considered as a standard procedure for surgical treatment of mid and low rectal cancer. With the introduction of pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for preoperative staging of rectal cancer, risk factors for local recurrence can be predicted before surgery to distinguish patients who are in high risk for recurrence that requires preoperative neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy. Early rectal cancer was assessed by transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) and endorectal MRI with coil. Transanal local excision can be applied with anal sphincter preservation safely. Neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy was performed in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, and this resulted in tumor size reductions and histopathologic downstaging effect. As far as the quality of life is concerned, sexual and voiding function are much improved by techniques preserving nerve. Many experts have dealt with challenging practical problems of managing rectal cancer from diagnosis to quality of life. This issue contains recent progresses in the diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer which will serve as a comprehensive reference for those who manage rectal cancer in their medical practice.


Rectal cancer; Total mesorectal excision; Preoperative staging

MeSH Terms

Rectal Neoplasms/diagnosis/*therapy
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