Aim: A Snapshot study design eliminates changes in treatment and outcome over time. This population based Snapshot study aimed to determine current practice and outcome of rectal cancer treatment with published landmark randomized controlled trials as a benchmark.
Method: In this collaborative research project, the dataset of the Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit was extended with additional treatment and long-term outcome data. All registered patients who underwent resection for rectal cancer in 2011 were eligible. Baseline characteristics and outcome were evaluated against the results of the Dutch TME trial and the COLOR II trial from which the original datasets were obtained.
Results: A total of 71 hospitals participated, and data were completed for 2102 out of the potential 2633 patients (79.8%). Median follow-up was 41 (interquartile range 25-47) months. Overall circumferential resection margin (CRM) involvement was 9.3% in the Snapshot cohort and 18.5% in the Dutch TME trial. CRM positivity after laparoscopic resection was 7.8% in the Snapshot and 9.5% in the COLOR II trial. Three-year overall local recurrence rate in the Snapshot was 5.9%, with a disease-free survival of 67.1% and overall survival of 79.5%. Benchmarking with the randomized controlled trials revealed an overall favourable long-term outcome of the Snapshot cohort.
Conclusion: This study showed that current rectal cancer care in a large unselected Dutch population is of high quality, with less positive CRM since the TME trial and oncologically safe implementation of minimally invasive surgery after the COLOR II trial.