Aim Patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer (LRRC) frequently present with either synchronous metastases or a history of metastases. This study was conducted to evaluate whether LRRC patients without metastases have a different oncological outcome compared to patients with a history of metastases treated with curative intent or patients with potentially curable synchronous metastases.Method All consecutive LRRC patients who underwent intentionally curative surgery between 2005 and 2017 in a large tertiary hospital were retrospectively reviewed and categorized as having no metastases, a history of (curatively treated) metastases or synchronous metastases. Patients with unresectable distant metastases were excluded from the analysis.Results Of the 349 patients who were analysed, 261 (75%) had no metastases, 42 (12%) had a history of metastases and 46 (13%) had synchronous metastases. The 3-year metastasis-free survival was 52%, 33% and 13% in patients without metastases, with a history of metastases, and with synchronous metastases, respectively (P < 0.001) A history of metastases did not influence overall survival (OS), but there was a trend towards a worse OS in patients with synchronous metastases compared with patients without synchronous metastases (hazard ratio 1.43; 95% CI 0.98-2.11).Conclusion LRRC patients with a history of curatively treated metastases have an OS comparable to that in patients without metastases and should therefore be treated with curative intent. However, LRRC patients with synchronous metastases have a poor metastasis-free survival and worse OS; in these patients, an individualized treatment approach to observe the behaviour of the disease is recommended.
- distant metastases
- locally recurrent rectal cancer
- free survival
- overall survival