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Gynecol Oncol. 2008 Nov;111(2 Suppl):S56-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.07.055. Epub 2008 Oct 2.

Colon resection for ovarian cancer: intraoperative decisions.

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Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.


To discuss the benefits and morbidity of and indications for colon resection during cytoreductive operations for ovarian cancer. The history of cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer is discussed, with special attention to the incorporation of colon resection. Literature regarding cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer is then reviewed, again with attention to the role of colon resection. The focus of the review is directed at broad technical considerations and rationales, for both primary and secondary cytoreduction. Over the past 15 to 20 years the standard cytoreductive operation for ovarian cancer has shifted from an abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and omentectomy to an en bloc radical resection of the pelvic tumor and an omentectomy, and more recently to include increasing use of extensive upper abdominal surgery. En bloc pelvic resection frequently includes rectosigmoid resection, almost always accompanied by a primary anastomosis. Other portions of the colon are at risk for metastatic involvement and sometimes require resection in order to achieve optimal cytoreduction. The data regarding colon resection for the purpose of surgical cytoreduction of ovarian cancer are conflicting (in terms of benefit) and all retrospective. However, the preponderance of information supports a benefit in terms of survival when cytoreduction is clearly optimal. Similar to primary surgery, benefit from secondary cytoreduction of ovarian cancer occurs when only a small volume of disease is left behind. The preponderance of data suggests that colon resection to achieve optimal cytoreduction has a positive impact on survival. In order to better understand the role of colon resection as well as other extensive cytoreductive procedures for ovarian cancer, it will be important to continue to improve our understanding of prognostic variables such as the nuances of metastatic bowel involvement in order to better guide appropriate surgical management.

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