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J Am Coll Surg. 2001 Dec;193(6):626-32.

Bowel resection at the time of primary cytoreduction for epithelial ovarian cancer.

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University of California Irvine, Orange, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the morbidity and survival associated with bowel resection at the time of primary cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer.


We reviewed all patients undergoing bowel resection by gynecologic oncology faculty at the time of primary cytoreduction for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed between 1983 and 1995.


There were 105 patients meeting the above criteria. The median age was 65 years (range 34 to 85 years). There were 76 stage III and 25 stage IV cancers. The primary indication for bowel resection was tumor debulking in 92% of the patients. Seventy patients had segmental resection of the colon only, and 22 patients underwent resections that included the large and small bowels. Mean operating time was 260 minutes and mean estimated blood loss was 1,447 mL. Thirty-three (31%) patients were optimally cytoreduced to less than 1 cm residual disease. Ten patients experienced major complications directly related to bowel resection, including bowel fistula (4 patients), early postoperative bowel obstruction (5 patients), and stomal hernia (1 patient). Other morbidity included ileus for more than 10 days (18 patients), cardiac complications (17 patients), pneumonia (8 patients), sepsis (5 patients), and thromboembolism (4 patients). Six patients died and five patients required reexploration within 30 days of operation. Patients with preoperative bowel obstruction and suboptimal residual disease were more likely to have postoperative morbidity. Median survival in the optimally debulked patients was 35 months compared with 18 months in patients suboptimally cytoreduced (p = 0.006). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that optimal debulking (p = 0.009) and platinum chemotherapy (p = 0.00006) were independently associated with improved survival. Age, International Federation of Gynecologia Oncologists stage, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, and paclitaxel chemotherapy did not influence survival.


In patients undergoing bowel resection at the time of primary cytoreduction for ovarian cancer, optimal cytoreduction to less than 1 cm residual disease results in improved survival. Morbidity is common but is comparable to other published series of ovarian cancer patients undergoing primary cytoreductive surgery without bowel resection. Additionally, patients with preoperative bowel obstruction and suboptimal residual disease are more likely to have serious morbidity.

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