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Endoscopy. 2008 Mar;40(3):184-91. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-995426.

Early closure of a multicenter randomized clinical trial of endoscopic stenting versus surgery for stage IV left-sided colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The introduction of self-expandable metal stents has offered a promising alternative for palliation of malignant left-sided colonic obstruction. This randomized clinical trial aimed to assess whether a nonsurgical policy, with endoluminal stenting, is superior to surgical treatment in patients with stage IV left-sided colorectal cancer and imminent obstruction.


Patients with incurable left-sided colorectal cancer who fulfilled the study criteria were randomly assigned to nonsurgical or surgical treatment. The primary outcome measure was survival in good health out of hospital (World Health Organization performance scores 0 or 1).


A high number of serious adverse events in the nonsurgical arm led to premature closure of the trial. Ten patients were allocated to surgical treatment and 11 patients to nonsurgical palliation. The median survival in good health out of hospital during the first year was 56 days (interquartile range 7.5 - 338.5 days) in the surgical arm vs. 38 days (interquartile range 5.25 - 288.75 days) in the nonsurgical arm (P = 0.68). Eleven adverse events (six perforations) occurred in the nonsurgical arm vs. one adverse event in the surgical arm (P < 0.001). Of the six perforations, two were stent-related because they occurred at the proximal edge of the stent by erosion through a normal colon wall; one was probably stent-related (it was located in the region of the proximal half of the stent); one was a colon blowout; and two were late tumor perforations in patients on chemotherapy.


The unexpected high rate of perforation in the nonsurgical arm might be specifically WallFlex-related or enteral stent-related in patients on chemotherapy and warrants attention.

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