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Br J Surg. 2007 Dec;94(12):1548-54.

Impact of anastomotic leakage on oncological outcome after rectal cancer resection.

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Institute for Quality Control in Operative Medicine, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.



: Anastomotic leakage has a major impact on morbidity and mortality in rectal cancer surgery. Its relevance to oncological outcome is controversial. This observational study investigated the influence of anastomotic leakage on oncological outcome.


: Data for 1741 patients undergoing curative resection of rectal cancer (located less than 12 cm from the anal verge) with normal healing were compared with those for 303 patients who experienced anastomotic leakage. Morbidity, mortality and long-term oncological outcomes were analysed.


: Median follow-up was 40 months. Patients with anastomotic leakage had a higher postoperative mortality rate than those with no leakage (4.3 versus 1.2 per cent; P < 0.001). Patients with leakage necessitating surgical treatment had a higher 5-year local recurrence rate (17.5 versus 10.1 per cent; P = 0.006) and a lower 5-year disease-free survival rate (70.9 versus 75.4 per cent; P = 0.020) than those without leakage. Patients with anastomotic leakage not requiring surgical intervention did not have a worse oncological outcome.


: A negative prognostic impact of anastomotic leakage on local recurrence and disease-free survival was found only for patients with leakage needing surgical revision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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