The use of endoscopic treatment for early colorectal cancer (ECC) is increasing. The European guidelines suggest performing piecemeal endoscopic resection (pmR) for benign lesions and en bloc resection for ECC, especially for patients with favorable lymph node involvement risk evaluations. However, en bloc resections for lesions larger than two centimeters require invasive endoscopic techniques. Our retrospective single-center study aimed to determine the clinical impact of performing pmR for ECC rather than traditional en bloc resection.
A single-center study was performed between January 2012 and September 2017. All ECC patients were included. The main objective was to evaluate the number of patients who potentially underwent unnecessary surgery due to piecemeal resection. The secondary endpoints were as follows: disease-free survival (DFS), defined as the time from pmR to endoscopic failure (local recurrence not treatable by endoscopy), complication rate, number of patients who did not undergo surgery by default, and factors predictive of outcomes and complications.
One hundred and forty-six ECC endoscopically treated patients were included. In total, 85 patients were excluded (71 who underwent en bloc resection, 14 with pending follow-up). Data from 61 patients (33 women and 28 men) were analyzed. Two patients underwent potentially unnecessary surgery [3.28% (0.9%- 11.2%)]. The DFS rate was 87% (75%-93%) at 6 months and 85% [72%-92%] at 12 months. The median follow- up time was 16.5 months (12.4-20.9). Three patients (4.9%) had complications. One patient did not undergo surgery by default. A Paris classification of 0-2c (HR=9.3 (2.4-35.9), p<0.001) and Vienna classification of 5 [HR=16.3 (3.3-80.4), p<0.001] were factors associated with poor DFS.
Performing pmR in place of en bloc resection for ECC had a limited impact on patients. If the pathology (especially deep margins) is analyzable, careful monitoring could be acceptable in ECC patients who undergo pmR.