Objectives: To assess the value of lateral lymph node dissection( LLND) in the radical surgery of rectal cancer.
Methods: The published Chinese and English literature was retrieved. A total of 15 papers fitted the selection criteria, including 4,858 patients. Among them 2,401 were in the LLND group and 2,457 in the non-LLND (NLLND) group. Evaluation parameters included 5-year survival rate recurrence rate, peri-operative outcomes, postoperative urinary and sexual functions.
Results: The operating time was significantly shorter in the NLLND group than that in the LLND group (weighted mean difference (WMD)=109 min, 95 confidence interval(CI):90-129, P <0.001). Intra-operative blood loss was greater in the LLND group, but the difference was not significant (WMD=429 mL, 95 CI:325-854, P = 0.05).The frequency of peri-operative morbidity(OR, 1.57 95 CI:1.06-2.33, P = 0.02) was also significantly higher in the LLND group. There were no significant differences in 5-year survival rateand recurrence rate between the two groups. Data from individual studies(three)showed that the frequency of male urinary dysfunction (OR=5.12, 95CI 2.15-12.19, P=0.0002) and sexual dysfunction (P < 0.05) were greatly lower in the NLLND group.
Conclusion: Meta analysis showed that LLND did not have specific advantage in decreasing postoperative recurrence and prolonging survival time. Furthermore it was associated with prolonged operation time, increased blood loss and elevated incidence of peri-operative complications and urinary and sexual dysfunction.