Impact of Neoadjuvant Therapy on Postoperative Complications in Patients Undergoing Resection for Rectal Adenocarcinoma

Turner, Immanuel I.; Russell, Gregory B.; Blackstock, A. William; Levine, Edward A.
December 2004
American Surgeon;Dec2004, Vol. 70 Issue 12, p1045
Academic Journal
Surgical resection continues to be the mainstay of treatment for rectal cancer. Neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy and radiation) has also been shown to be efficacious. The impact of preoperative chemotherapy and radiation on postoperative complications is unclear. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship of neoadjuvant therapy on postoperative complications in patients undergoing a resection of rectal cancer. A total of 325 patients who underwent curative resection for rectal cancer from 1984 to 2001 were retrospectively reviewed. Only cases with complete data sets who had undergone surgery at this institution were evaluable (257). The patients were divided into groups based on the operative procedure performed; abdominoperineal resection (APR) versus sphincter-sparing (SS) procedures (LAR/Transanal) and whether or not preoperative chemotherapy or radiation was administered. There was no significant difference between complication rates for APR and SS with 19 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. The preoperative therapy had no effect on complications after APR. However, the SS group showed 21 per cent of the patients who received radiation had complications compared to 11 per cent in those who did not (P = 0.087). Complications in the SS group included leaks, wound infections, abscess, embolism, cardiac dysrhythmias, and myocardial infarctions. The 30-day mortality was 1.9 per cent for the entire cohort with no clear difference between groups. There was no significant difference in complication rate between APR and SS. In the APR group, neoadjuvant therapy had no impact on the incidence of complications. However, the SS group did show a trend between preoperative chemotherapy and radiation and complication rate. However, this may not outweigh the advantages of preoperative therapy in this setting.


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