Restorative proctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis complicated by colorectal cancer

Stephen R Gorfine, Michael T Harris, David S Bub, Joel J Bauer
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2004, 47 (8): 1377-85

PURPOSE: Restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is widely accepted as the procedure of choice for patients requiring surgery for chronic ulcerative colitis. The role of restorative proctocolectomy in the setting of chronic ulcerative colitis complicated by colorectal carcinoma is not clear. This study was undertaken to explore the clinical outcomes of chronic ulcerative colitis patients with coexisting colorectal carcinoma who underwent restorative proctocolectomy.

METHODS: A total of 756 patients with chronic ulcerative colitis were followed prospectively after restorative proctocolectomy. Forty-five (5.9 percent) were found to have invasive carcinoma of the colon (n = 31) or rectum (n = 14). These patients were followed with special attention to cancer stage, adjuvant therapy, oncologic outcome, and functional results after restorative proctocolectomy.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (45.6 percent) had staged surgery (colon, 14; rectum, 7). Twenty-seven patients received adjuvant chemotherapy (colon, 22; rectum, 5). Fourteen patients (51.8 percent) who received chemotherapy were not diverted during this treatment. Two node-positive rectal cancer patients had pelvic radiotherapy: one before restorative proctocolectomy and one after restorative proctocolectomy. Mean time to restoration of intestinal continuity among staged patients did not differ between cancer and noncancer patients. Six patients died of metastatic disease (colon, 3; rectum, 3). Five deaths occurred among patients with Stage III disease (colon, 3/13, 23.1 percent; rectum, 2/3, 66.7 percent). One patient with Stage I cancer at the time of restorative proctocolectomy died. Thirty-nine patients are alive without evidence of disease at a mean interval from surgery of 76.5 months. Thirty-six patients have functioning pelvic pouches. Bowel frequency, continence, and complication rates are similar among restorative proctocolectomy patients with and without cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Restorative proctocolectomy as a single or staged procedure is a viable therapeutic option for selected chronic ulcerative colitis patients with associated colorectal cancers. Prognosis seems to be related to cancer stage. Adjuvant chemotherapy can safely be given to nondiverted patients. Appropriate use of preoperative and postoperative radiotherapy for rectal cancer patients who are otherwise candidates for restorative proctocolectomy is unknown. Long-term functional results for cancer patients are similar to those seen in chronic ulcerative colitis patients without cancer.

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