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J Gastrointest Surg. 2001 Jul-Aug;5(4):383-7.

Results of salvage abdominoperineal resection for recurrent anal carcinoma following combined chemoradiation therapy.

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Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-5614, U.S.A.


Combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy is the standard treatment for epidermoid carcinoma of the anal canal. Failures are often not associated with distant recurrence and are therefore potentially amenable to salvage abdominoperineal resection. The aim of this study was to review our experience with abdominoperineal resection following failure of chemoradiation therapy for epidermoid carcinoma of the anus. Between 1980 and 1998, 17 patients underwent salvage abdominoperineal resection following failure of chemoradiation therapy. Four patients were excluded from survival analysis because resection was performed with palliative intent. Survival curves were based on the method of Kaplan and Meier, and univariate analysis of predictive variables was performed using the log-rank test. Twelve patients underwent abdominoperineal resection for persistent disease and five patients for recurrent disease. No operative deaths occurred, but local complications including perineal wound infection and wound breakdown was seen in 8 of 17 patients and 6 of 17 patients, respectively. Patients undergoing omental flap reconstruction (n = 3) or no pelvic reconstruction (n = 5) had a higher incidence of perineal breakdown compared to those undergoing muscle flap reconstruction (n = 9) (P <0.05). The median follow-up time for the patients operated on with curative intent was 53 months. The 5-year actuarial survival was 47%. Potential prognostic factors that were not found to have an impact on survival included margin status of resection, sphincter invasion, and degree of differentiation. Only pathologic tumor size greater than 5.0 cm (P <0.001) and age over 55 years (P <0.05) adversely affected survival. Selected patients with recurrent or persistent anal carcinoma following chemoradiation therapy can be offered salvage abdominoperineal resection. This operation is associated with a high incidence of local wound complications, and muscle flap reconstruction should be considered when possible. Prolonged survival can be achieved in some patients following salvage resection for epidermoid carcinoma of the anal canal.

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