, Volume 391, Issue 4, pp 369-375
Date: 06 May 2006

Assessment of risk-independent follow-up to detect asymptomatic recurrence after curative resection of colorectal cancer

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Background and aims

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death. We analyzed the value of standardized, risk-independent postoperative surveillance.

Materials and methods

Between 1995 and 2001, 564 patients with colorectal cancer underwent standardized oncologic resection. One hundred thirty-four were unable to take part in the surveillance program, while 430 patients were grouped as follows: group I (n=272, risk-independent follow-up), group II (n=113, follow-up at other departments), and group III (n=45, no follow-up).


The 5-year cancer-specific survival rate for UICC III and IV was significantly higher in group I (87%) as compared to group II (35%). In group I, the 5-year disease-free survival rate was 70%. Cancer recurrence occurred at mean 17 (±12) months after colorectal resection and yielded a 5-year survival rate of 63%. Reresection was performed in 17 (35%) patients, of whom ten remained disease-free (5-year survival rate, 91%). The money spent for one patient’s 5-year follow-up was 1665.


A standardized, risk-independent follow-up program allows early diagnosis of asymptomatic recurrence of colorectal cancer. Reresection improves the 5-year survival rate in this setting.

Presented at the Tripartite Colorectal Meeting, Dublin, July 2005 and at the Congress of the German Society of Surgery, Munich, April 2005