T4 colorectal cancer: is laparoscopic resection contraindicated?

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AimT4 colorectal cancer remains a contraindication for laparoscopy. It is argued that the risk of incomplete resection could be higher than in open surgery. Furthermore, difficulty in dissection could lead to a very high rate of conversion. There is little information on this. The study aimed at assessing feasibility and operative and oncologic results of laparoscopic resection for T4 colorectal cancer.MethodBetween 2006 and 2009, 39 patients with colorectal cancer with suspected involvement of another organ (T4) on computed tomography scanning and/or magnetic resonance imaging were included. The cancers were in the right colon (n = 18), left colon (n = 9) and rectum (n = 12). The distribution of possible organ involvement was abdominal or pelvic side-wall (n = 21), urinary bladder (n = 4), small bowel or colon (n = 6), vagina and ovary (n = 3), prostate or seminal vesicles (n = 3) and duodenum (n = 2).ResultsThe overall conversion rate was 18%. Postoperative mortality and morbidity were 2.5 and 33%, respectively. Clinical anastomotic leakage rate was 15% (n = 6). Abdominal reoperation was required in three (7%) patients. Pathological invasion to other organs (pT4) was confirmed in 30 (77%) patients. The R1 resection rate was 13% (4 of 30). After a median follow up of 19 months (range 1.5–45 months), the overall survival and disease-free survival rates were 97 and 89%, respectively.ConclusionThis study suggests that laparoscopic surgery is feasible for colorectal T4 cancer resection. Laparoscopy cannot therefore be considered an absolute contraindication for T4 colorectal cancer.

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