Introduction: After publication of the results of the Dutch TME-trial preoperative radiotherapy followed by TME-surgery was introduced in July 2001 in the region of the comprehensive cancer centre Rotterdam as standard treatment for rectal cancer. The aim of this study is to identify the compliance to a new standardized treatment protocol i.e. the introduction of preoperative radiotherapy and to analyze the results of rectal cancer treatment in the Cancer Centre Rotterdam Region. Patients and methods: A total of 521 patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum were included in the period from 2001 to 2003. All patients were treated with curative intent. Results: There was a significant increase of preoperative radiotherapy for patients with a tumour in the lower two-third of the rectum (21% versus 69%, p < 0.001). Peri-operative mortality rate was 2.7% and overall anastomotic leakage rate was 10.3%. There was a significant increase in the occurrence of anastomotic leakage in end-to-end anastomoses (p < 0.0001). Most anastomotic leakages occurred when patients were operated in between 4 and 8 days after the end of radiotherapy. Several aspects such as continence for urine and faeces and sexual functions were poorly registered. The total number of lymph nodes registered in pathology reports was low. The rate of reported circumferential margins increased from 37% to 70% after feedback to the regional pathology working group. Conclusion: The regional quality of rectal cancer surgery is conform preset quality-demands. There was a significant increase in the percentage preoperative radiotherapy, but still about 25% of patients who qualified for radiotherapy did not receive radiation. Pathology reports improved during registration, which illustrates the importance of registration to assess and improve quality of rectal cancer treatment.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cancer, Quality, Radiotherapy, Rectal, Registration, TME
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejso.2006.12.005, hdl.handle.net/1765/36186
Journal European Journal of Surgical Oncology
Citation
Vermaas, M, Gosselink, M.P, Ferenschild, F.T.J, van den Aardweg, E, Lont, H.E, Kemperman, H.W.P.M, … de Wilt, J.H.W. (2007). Introduction of preoperative radiotherapy in the treatment of operable rectal cancer in the Southwest region of the Netherlands. European Journal of Surgical Oncology, 33(7), 862–867. doi:10.1016/j.ejso.2006.12.005