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Dis Colon Rectum. 1988 Nov;31(11):842-7.

Advanced rectal cancer. What is the best palliation?

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Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, West Haven, Connecticut.


The best treatment of advanced rectal cancer remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to determine the outcome after palliative procedures in patients with advanced rectal cancer. One hundred and three patients treated over a seven-year period were identified, including 30 with local invasion, 18 with local metastases, and 55 with distant metastases. Patients were grouped into two groups: those who underwent palliative resection (68) and those who were treated without rectal resection (55). The nonresected group included patients who underwent diverting colostomies (28) and those who received multimodality therapy without surgery (7). The average age of all patients was 63.1 years. Patients in the nonresected group had more distant disease (68 percent) than the resected group (46 percent). Significant pelvic pain was a more common problem in the nonresected group (15 percent) than in the resected group (4 percent). Similarly, pelvic sepsis was more common in the nonresected group (14 percent) than in the resected group (9 percent). Postoperative mortality was 4.3 percent after palliative resection and 3.8 percent after diverting colostomy. Survival of the resected group at one year was 65 percent and at two years 20 percent. Survival of the nonresected group at one year was 20 percent and at two years 0 percent. Survival in the resected group was significantly (P less than .01) better than the nonresected group but probably can be attributed to the more extensive disease generally present in the patients who did not undergo resection. These results suggest that patients with advanced rectal cancers should undergo palliative resection whenever possible because resection decreases pelvic complications and may improve quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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