AIM: To assess the clinical significance of prophylactic lateral pelvic lymph node dissection (LPLND) in stage IV low rectal cancer. METHODS: We selected 71 consecutive stage IV low rectal cancer patients who underwent primary tumor resection, and enrolled 50 of these 71 patients without clinical LPLN metastasis. The patients had distant metastasis such as liver, lung, peritoneum, and paraaortic LN. Clinical LPLN metastasis was defined as LN with a maximum diameter of 10 mm or more on preoperative pelvic computed tomography scan. All patients underwent primary tumor resection, 27 patients underwent total mesorectal excision (TME) with LPLND (LPLND group), and 23 patients underwent only TME (TME group). Bilateral LPLND was performed simultaneously with primary tumor resection in LPLND group. R0 resection of both primary and metastatic sites was achieved in 20 of 50 patients. We evaluated possible prognostic factors for 5-year overall survival (OS), and compared 5-year cumulative local recurrence between the LPLND and TME groups. RESULTS: For OS, univariate analyses revealed no significant benefit in the LPLND compared with the TME group (28.7% vs 17.0%, P = 0.523); multivariate analysis revealed that R0 resection was an independent prognostic factor. Regarding cumulative local recurrence, the LPLND group showed no significant benefit compared with TME group (21.4% vs 14.8%, P = 0.833). CONCLUSION: Prophylactic LPLND shows no oncological benefits in patients with Stage IV low rectal cancer without clinical LPLN metastasis.
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