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Dis Colon Rectum. 1998 Dec;41(12):1488-93.

Results of salvage abdominoperineal resection for anal cancer after radiotherapy.

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Department of Surgery, Saint Antoine University-Hospital Paris, France.



Nonsurgical treatment of anal cancer by radiotherapy alone or combined with chemotherapy is the standard therapy for epidermoid carcinoma of the anal canal. Surgery is only recommended for treatment failures. Very few studies have been devoted to the outcome of this salvage surgery. The aim of this study is to evaluate these results.


A retrospective review from 1986 to 1995 revealed 21 patients with residual or recurrent anal canal carcinoma after initial radiotherapy, operated on by abdominoperineal resection. Patients were reviewed as to age, gender, initial treatment, any symptoms of recurrence, duration until recurrence, any diagnosis imaging, treatment, and outcome.


None of these 21 patients had known lymph node involvement or metastases at radiotherapy or at salvage abdominoperineal resection. Eleven patients had residual disease (positive biopsy less than 6 months after the end of radiotherapy) and 10 had tumor recurrence (more than 6 months after cessation of treatment). Recurrence occurred at a mean of 15 (range, 9-41) months after radiotherapy. All 21 patients underwent an abdominoperineal resection. Pathologic examination of the 21 specimens showed complete excision in all cases except one and lymph node metastases in two cases. There was no perioperative mortality. The mean follow-up after surgery was 40 months; no patients were lost to follow-up. Of the 21 patients, 10 died and 11 lived, of whom 9 are disease free. The overall survival rate at three years after salvage abdominoperineal resection was 58 percent. The overall survival rate for patients with residual disease (vs. recurrence) at three years was 72 percent (vs. 29 percent) and at five years was 60 percent (vs. 0 percent; P = 0.06).


Salvage abdominoperineal resection for anal cancer can be expected to yield a number of survivors from residual disease, but the low rate of survival after abdominoperineal resection for recurrent disease suggests the need for additional postoperative treatment if salvage abdominoperineal resection is performed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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