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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2010 Jan;36(1):58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2009.10.011. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

Primary chemotherapy with or without colonic stent for management of irresectable stage IV colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, AP-HP, Henri Mondor University Hospital, Créteil, France.



Management of patients with irresectable stage IV colorectal cancer is controversial. Since 2000, we have favoured primary chemotherapy with stent insertion in case of obstructive tumor. Our aim was to report the results of this strategy in an unselected consecutive series of patients.


From 2000 to 2007, 68 of 115 consecutive patients admitted with stage IV colorectal cancer were considered irresectable. Data were collected prospectively. Feasibility and outcomes were analysed in an intention to treat basis.


Of 68 patients, 37 received the intended primary chemotherapy, with stent insertion in 19, 13 required surgery as initial management and 18 patients received supportive care only. Twelve patients in the primary chemotherapy group developed local complication, including bowel obstruction in 9, successfully managed by stent in 6 of them. In patients requiring surgery at presentation, mortality and morbidity were 31% and 77%, respectively. Overall, 41 patients received chemotherapy, of whom, 6 were downstaged to undergo curative resection. Median survival was 6.7 and 15.4 months for the whole series and patients treated by primary chemotherapy, respectively (p<0.0001). On multivariate analysis, age, CEA level, primary chemotherapy and secondary curative resection were independently associated with survival.


In unselected patients with irresectable stage IV colorectal cancer, primary chemotherapy with or without stent is feasible in more than 50% of cases and is associated with a low rate of secondary surgery for complicated primary tumor. This strategy may represent the best palliation in these patients for both duration and quality of survival.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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