Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 390–398 | Cite as

Effect of no touch isolation on survival and recurrence in curative resections for colorectal cancer

  • Charles A. SlanetzJr.
Original Articles


Background: Curative resections for colorectal cancer were studied to determine the effects of the application of bowel ligatures and the sequence of mesenteric ligation on survival and recurrence as part of the no touch isolation technique.

Methods: Records documenting the application of bowel ligatures in 2015 consecutive curative resections for colorectal cancer and the sequence of mesenteric vessel ligation in 1863 of these cases were reviewed.

Results: Bowel ligatures applied before tumor mobilization in curative resections for colorectal cancer consistently reduced cancer-related deaths and the incidence of distant, local, and suture line recurrences. Their impact on survival began to approach statistical significance in Dukes C colon cancers and in the overall group of colon cancers (P=.019). Early application of bowel ligatures decreased the incidence of subsequent liver metastases from 15.3% to 9.5% and systemic metastases from 18.0% to 13.0% (P<.0001). Local recurrence was reduced from 18.3% to 10.8% in Dukes B and from 28.6% to 19.3% in Dukes C cases (P=.002). The incidence of suture line recurrence was reduced from 6.8% to 0.9% in Dukes B and from 12.2% to 3.2% in Dukes C cases (P=.001). Ligating the mesenteric vessels before mobilizing the tumor did not significantly affect survival, but did increase the incidence of distant systemic metastases and of local and suture line recurrences. With early vessel ligation, systemic metastases developed in 24.5% of 813 curative resections, compared to 15.7% of 1050 cases in which vessel ligation followed tumor mobilization (P<.001). Early vessel ligation in Dukes C cancers was associated with an increase in local recurrence from 22.5% to 34.2% and in suture line recurrence from 6.9% to 18.8% (P=.0003). The correlation became greater as the stage of the cancer became more advanced.

Conclusion: By controlling lymphatic and intraluminal dissemination of malignant cells as well as minimizing tumor manipulation, bowel ligatures help to reduce cancer-related deaths and the incidence of distant, local, and suture line recurrences. The sequence in which the mesenteric vessels were ligated did not affect survival, but did change the distribution of distant metastases and the incidence of local and suture line recurrences.

Key Words

Colorectal cancer Colectomy Intraoperative care Surgical methods 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Surgical Oncology, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles A. SlanetzJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.From the Department of SurgeryColumbia-Presbyterian HospitalNew York City
  2. 2.the Department of SurgeryState University of New York at Stony BrookStony Brook

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