Methods

The macrospecimen was cut through all the layers of rectum by a plane of minimum cancer lesion. After fixing in formalin solution (10%) for 24 h, the specimen was sliced through the tumour by the longitudinal plane at a step of 3 mm.

In order to perform histologic investigation, we selected the sections with the maximum depth of cancer invasion and the lowest distal verge of the cancer. The pectinate area including tumour was subjected to pathomorphometry. The following parameters were measured and summarised in the morphological map: the maximum depth of invasion in the lateral direction, the level of the distal margin of the tumour from the dentate line and perianal skin, the number of lymphatic nodes and their location. The histologic structure (haematoxylin-eosin) and the distal intramural spread of malignancy were studied.

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