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Perforated colorectal cancer

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Diseases of the Colon & Rectum


PURPOSE: Perforations are rare but serious complications of colorectal cancer, with mortality rates of 30 to 40 percent. The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate possible indicators of prognosis and causes of death and to evaluate the risk of this complication by comparing results in perforated tumors with uncomplicated cancers or largebowel perforations attributable to benign causes. METHODS: Data of postoperative and long-term results of 35 patients with perforated colorectal cancers were compared in 868 patients with uncomplicated cancers and 130 patients with large-bowel perforations attributable to benign diseases. Postoperative survival in perforated cancers (mortality, 40 percent) was determined by degree of peritonitis, septic state, and tumor stages. RESULTS: Comparison of the three groups demonstrated advanced tumor stages, a higher rate of septic organ failures, and higher mortality rates for perforated cancers. Long-term survival depended on tumor stages but did not differ in perforated and uncomplicated cancers. CONCLUSIONS: A cumulative effect of malignancy and sepsis may be responsible for the high postoperative mortality in malignant perforation. Patients with perforated cancers represent the highest risk group in colonic perforation.

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Read at the meeting of the Austrian Society for Surgical Oncology, Pörtschach, Austria, September 21 to 23, 1995.

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Kriwanek, S., Armbruster, C., Dittrich, K. et al. Perforated colorectal cancer. Dis Colon Rectum 39, 1409–1414 (1996).

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