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World J Surg Oncol. 2012 Jun 15;10:110. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-10-110.

Retrospective review of pelvic malignancies undergoing total pelvic exenteration.

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  • 1Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Arthur G, James Cancer Hospital and Richard J, Solove Research Institute and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, 395 W 12th Ave, Room 654, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



In patients with locally advanced or recurrent pelvic malignancies, total pelvic exenteration (TPE) may be necessary for curative treatment. Despite improvements in mortality rates since TPE was first described, morbidity rates remain high due to the extensive resection and the aggressiveness of these tumors. We have studied the outcomes of TPE surgery performed at our institution.


Fifty-three patients with various pelvic pathologies underwent TPE between 2004 and 2010. Patients were divided into two groups based on pathology: colorectal (n = 36) versus non-colorectal (n = 17) malignancies. Demographics, operative reports, pathology reports, periprocedural events, and outcomes were analyzed. Comparison of the two groups was performed using student's t-test and Fisher's exact test. Survival curves were constructed using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log rank test.


The colorectal and non-colorectal groups were similar in demographics, operative times, length of stay, estimated blood loss, and rates of preoperative and intraoperative radiation use. Chemotherapy use was increased in the colorectal group compared with the non-colorectal group (55.6% vs. 23.5%, P = 0.04). Complication rates were similar: 86% in the colorectal group and 76% in the non-colorectal group. In the colorectal group, 27.8% of patients developed perineal abscesses, whereas no patients developed these complications in the non-colorectal group (P = 0.02). No survival difference was seen in primary versus recurrent colorectal tumors; however, within the colorectal group there was a survival advantage when comparing R0 resection to R1 and R2 resection combined. Median survival rates were 27.3 months for R0 resection and 10.7 months for R1 and R2 resection combined. The median survival was 21.4 months for the colorectal group and 6.9 months for the non-colorectal group (P = 0.002).


Patients undergoing TPE for colorectal tumors have improved survival when compared with patients undergoing exenteration for pelvic malignancies of other origins. Within the colorectal group, the extent of resection demonstrated a significant survival benefit of an R0 resection compared with R1 and R2 resections. Despite TPE carrying a high morbidity rate, mortality rates have improved and careful patient selection can optimize outcomes.

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