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August 1996

Retrospective Review of Colorectal Cancer in Ulcerative Colitis at a Tertiary Center

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 1996;131(8):806-811. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430200016003

Objective:  To review patient characteristics, surgical indications, operative procedures, and survival of patients with ulcerative colitis who develop colorectal cancer.

Design:  Retrospective medical record review.

Setting:  Tertiary referral center.

Patients:  Of 493 patients who underwent surgery for ulcerative colitis between 1978 and 1994, 25 patients had colorectal cancer.

Intervention:  All patients underwent surgical exploration and either a biopsy, segmental resection, total abdominal colectomy, or restorative proctocolectomy was performed.

Main Outcome Measure:  Duration of postoperative disease-free survival.

Results:  The average duration of illness prior to surgery was 18.5 years (range, 0.25-40 years). Surgical indications were intractability for 3 patients (12%); dysplasia as revealed by colonoscopic biopsy for 8 patients (32%); and preoperatively diagnosed cancer for 14 patients (56%). Three patients (12%) underwent exploratory laparotomy, 3 (12%) underwent right hemicolectomy, 5 (20%) underwent total proctocolectomy with ileostomy, 3 (12%) underwent total proctocolectomy with continent ileostomy, and 12 (48%) underwent restorative proctocolectomy. Pathological stage was carcinoma in situ for 3 patients (12%), stage I for 7 patients (28%), stage II for 4 patients (16%), stage III for 6 patients (25%), and stage IV for 5 patients (20%). Five-year survival was 100% (3/3) for patients with carcinoma in situ, 100% (4/4) for those with stage I disease, 50% (2/4) for those with stage II, 25% (1/4) for those with stage III, and 0% (0/5) for those with stage IV. Of the 12 patients treated with a restorative proctocolectomy, 6 are 5-year survivors, and 4 are alive at 24, 36, 38, and 48 months.

Conclusions:  Twelve percent of the patients in this series had no preoperative evidence of colorectal malignant neoplasms but had invasive cancer in the resected specimen. Therefore, duration of disease alone may be an indication for surgery. A restorative proctocolectomy is a satisfactory procedure in selected patients with malignant neoplasms.Arch Surg. 1996;131:806-811

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