Bladder preservation or complete cystectomy during pelvic exenteration of patients with locally advanced or recurrent rectal cancer, what should we do?

Published:January 09, 2023DOI:



      In patients with locally advanced (LARC) or locally recurrent (LRRC) rectal cancer and bladder involvement, pelvic exenteration (PE) with partial (PC) or radical (RC) cystectomy can potentially offer a cure. The study aim was to compare PC and RC in PE patients in terms of oncological outcome, post-operative complications and quality-of-life (QoL).

      Materials & methods

      This was a retrospective cohort analysis of a prospectively maintained surgical database. Patients who underwent PE for LARC or LRRC cancer with bladder involvement between 1998 and 2021 were included. Post-operative complications and overall survival were compared between patients with PC and RC.


      60 PC patients and 269 RC patients were included. Overall R0 resection was 84.3%. Patients with LRRC and PC had poorest oncological outcome with 69% R0 resection; patients with LARC and PC demonstrated highest R0 rate of 96.3% (P = 0.008). Overall, 1-, 3- and 5-year OS was 90.8%, 68.1% and 58.6% after PC, and 88.7%, 62.2% and 49.5% after RC. Rates of urinary sepsis or urological leaks did not differ between groups, however, RC patients experienced significantly higher rates of perineal wound- and flap-related complications (39.8% vs 25.0%, P = 0.032).


      PC as part of PE can be performed safely with good oncological outcome in patients with LARC. In patients with LRRC, PC results in poor oncological outcome and a more aggressive surgical approach with RC seems justified. The main benefit of PC is a reduction in wound related complications compared to RC, although more urological re-interventions are observed in this group.


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