Skip to main content
Log in

Stent or surgery for incurable obstructive colorectal cancer: an individualized decisión

  • Original Article
  • Published:
International Journal of Colorectal Disease Aims and scope Submit manuscript



In the setting of stage-IV obstructive colorectal cancer, self-expanding metallic stents (SEMS) placement and palliative surgery may be appropriate options. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the long-term results of surgery compared with stent implantation and to identify patients in whom one of these options can provide more benefit.

Materials and methods

From November 2000 to November 2008, 98 patients with incurable stage-IV colorectal cancer were treated with palliative surgery (n=53) or SEMS (n=45). Data were recorded with respect to age, gender, tumor location, carcinoembryogenic antigen, ASAclass, presence of metastatic disease in one or multiple organs, volume of liver metastases, urgency of the procedure and treatment with chemotherapy. Comparison between surgery and stent placement was performed for all group and for patients who received and did not receive chemotherapy.


Both groups were comparable regarding age, ASA-class, chemotherapy treatment, tumor location and presence of metastatic disease in one or multiple organs but not in gender, rate of urgent procedures, abnormal CEA and of volume of liver metastases >25%. Survival in surgical group was significantly higher (11.9 vs 7.3 months; log-rank test, p = 0.002). SEMS group had lower early morbidity, hospital stay and stoma creation. For patients who received chemotherapy, surgery provided benefit in survival (6.8 vs 3.9 months; log-rank test, p = 0.101); in this subgroup, long-term complications from the primary tumour were more common in stented group, and time to chemotherapy was longer in the group of surgery. No differences in survival were shown in patients who did not receive chemotherapy.


Stent placement offers advantages regarding early morbidity, hospital stay and stoma creation. Surgery offers a benefit in survival in patients who receive chemotherapy but not in non-candidates to chemotherapy.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Khot UP, Lang AW, Murali K, Parker MC (2002) Systematic review of the efficacy and safety of colorectal stents. Br J Surg 89(9):1096–1102

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Lo SK (1999) Metallic stenting for colorectal obstruction. Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am 9(3):459–477

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Keats AS (1978) The ASA classification of physical status—a recapitulation. Anesthesiology 49(4):233–236

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Heinemann A, Wischhusen F, Püschel K, Rogiers X (1993) Standard liver volume in the Caucasian population. Liver Transpl Surg 5(5):366–368

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Sarela AI, Guthrie JA, Seymour MT, Ride E, Guillou PJ, O’Riordain DS (2001) Non-operative management of the primary tumour in patients with incurable stage IV colorectal cancer. Br J Surg 88(10):1352–1356

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Scoggins CR, Meszoely IM, Blanke CD, Beauchamp RD, Leach SD (1999) Nonoperative management of primary colorectal cancer in patients with stage IV disease. Ann Surg Oncol 6(7):651–657

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Yun HR, Lee WY, Lee WS, Cho YB, Yun SH, Chun HK (2007) The prognostic factors of stage IV colorectal cancer and assessment of proper treatment according to the patient’s status. Int J Colorectal Dis 22(11):1301–1310

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Eisenberger A, Whelan RL, Neugut AI (2008) Survival and symptomatic benefit from palliative primary tumor resection in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: a review. Int J Colorectal Dis 23(6):559–568

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Carne PW, Frye JN, Robertson GM, Frizelle FA (2004) Stents or open operation for palliation of colorectal cancer: a retrospective, cohort study of perioperative outcome and long-term survival. Dis Colon Rectum 47(9):1455–1461

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Karoui M, Charachon A, Delbaldo C, Loriau J, Laurent A, Sobhani I, Tran Van Nhieu J, Delchier JC, Fagniez PL, Piedbois P, Cherqui D (2007) Stents for palliation of obstructive metastatic colon cancer: impact on management and chemotherapy administration. Arch Surg 142(7):619–623

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Faragher IG, Chaitowitz IM, Stupart DA (2008) Long-term results of palliative stenting or surgery for incurable obstructing colon cancer. Colorectal Dis 10(7):668–672

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Ptok H, Marusch F, Steinert R, Meyer L, Lippert H, Gastinger I (2006) Incurable stenosing colorectal carcinoma: endoscopic stent implantation or palliative surgery? World J Surg 30(8):1481–1487

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Law WL, Choi HK, Chu KW (2003) Comparison of stenting with emergency surgery a palliative treatment for obstructing primary left-sided colorectal cancer. Br J Surg 90(11):1429–1433

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Stelzner S, Hellmich G, Koch R, Ludwig K (2005) Factors predicting survival in stage IV colorectal carcinoma patients after palliative treatment: a multivariate analysis. J Surg Oncol 89(4):211–217

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Kuo LJ, Leu SY, Liu MC, Jian JJ, Hongiun Cheng S, Chen CM (2003) How aggressive should we be in patients with stage IV colorectal cancer? Dis Colon Rectum 46(12):1646–1652

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Javier Súarez.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Súarez, J., Jiménez, J., Vera, R. et al. Stent or surgery for incurable obstructive colorectal cancer: an individualized decisión. Int J Colorectal Dis 25, 91–96 (2010).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: