PURPOSE The aim of this study was to analyze the oncologic outcomes and the risk factors for recurrence after a tumor-specific mesorectal excision (TSME) of resectable rectal cancer in a single institution. METHODS A total of 782 patients who underwent a TSME for resectable rectal cancer between February 1995 and December 2005 were enrolled retrospectively. Oncologic outcomes included 5-year cancer-specific survival and its affecting factors, as well as risk factors for local and systemic recurrence. RESULTS The 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 77.53% with a mean follow-up period of 61 ± 31 months. The overall local and systemic recurrence rates were 9.2% and 21.1%, respectively. The risk factors for local recurrence were pN stage (P = 0.015), positive distal resection margin, and positive circumferential resection margin (P < 0.001). The risk factors for systemic recurrence were pN stage (P < 0.001) and preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen level (P = 0.005). The prognostic factors for cancer-specific survival were pT stage (P < 0.001), pN stage (P < 0.001), positive distal resection margin (P = 0.005), and positive circumferential resection margin (P = 0.016). CONCLUSION The oncologic outcomes in our institution after a TSME for patients with resectable rectal cancer were similar to those reported in other recent studies, and we established the risk factors that could be crucial for the planning of treatment and follow-up.