Background: The management of primary rectal cancer beyond total mesorectal excision planes (PRCbTME) and recurrent rectal cancer (RRC) is challenging. There is global variation in standards and no guidelines exist. To achieve cure most patients require extended, multivisceral, exenterative surgery, beyond conventional totalmesorectal excision planes. The aim of the Beyond TME Group was to achieve consensus on the definitions and principles of management, and to identify areas of research priority. Methods: Delphi methodology was used to achieve consensus. The Group consisted of invited experts from surgery, radiology, oncology and pathology. The process included two international dedicated discussion conferences, formal feedback, three rounds of editing and two rounds of anonymized webbased voting. Consensus was achieved with more than 80 per cent agreement; less than 80 per cent agreement indicated low consensus. During conferences held in September 2011 and March 2012, open discussion took place on areas in which there is a low level of consensus. Results: The final consensus document included 51 voted statements, making recommendations on ten key areas of PRC-bTME and RRC. Consensus agreement was achieved on the recommendations of 49 statements, with 34 achieving consensus in over 95 per cent. The lowest level of consensus obtained was 76 per cent. There was clear identification of the need for referral to a specialist multidisciplinary team for diagnosis, assessment and further management. Conclusion: The consensus process has provided guidance for the management of patients with PRCbTME or RRC, taking into account global variations in surgical techniques and technology. It has further identified areas of research priority.
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