Update on Minimally Invasive Surgical Approaches for Rectal Cancer

Leonardo E. Garcia, James Taylor, Chady Atallah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: This review aims to clarify the current role of minimally invasive surgery in the treatment of rectal cancer, highlighting short- and long-term outcomes from the latest trials and studies. Recent Findings: Data from previous trials has been conflicting, with some failing to demonstrate non-inferiority of laparoscopic surgical resection of rectal cancer compared to an open approach and others demonstrating similar clinical outcomes. Robot-assisted surgery was thought to be a promising solution to the challenges faced by laparoscopic surgery, and even though the only randomized controlled trial to date comparing these two techniques did not show superiority of robot-assisted surgery over laparoscopy, more recent retrospective data suggests a statistically significant higher negative circumferential resection margin rate, decreased frequency of conversion to open, and less sexual and urinary complications. Summary: Minimally invasive surgery techniques for resection of rectal cancer, particularly robot-assisted, offer clear short-term peri-operative benefits over an open approach; however, current data has yet to display non-inferiority in terms of oncological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117
JournalCurrent oncology reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Laparoscopy
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Rectal cancer
  • Robot
  • Total mesorectal excision
  • robot-assisted

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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