Anastomotic Leak Does Not Impact Oncologic Outcomes After Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy and Resection for Rectal Cancer

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Objective:The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of anastomotic leakage, local recurrence, and overall survival in rectal cancer patients treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and curative resection.Background:Little is known about the association between anastomotic leakage and oncologic outcomes after preoperative CRT.Methods:A total of 698 consecutive primary rectal cancer patients after preoperative CRT between April 19, 2000, and December 27, 2013, were retrospectively reviewed. Forty-seven patients who had anastomotic leakage were compared with 651 patients who had no anastomotic leakage.Results:Of 698 patients, 47 (6.7%) patients had anastomotic leakage. Among these 47 patients, 39 (83.0%) had grade C leak that required urgent operation, while 8 (17.0%) had grade B leak that was managed expectantly or by percutaneous drainage. The median follow-up period was 47.6 months (range, 27.1 to 68.9 months). One hundred twenty (17.2%) recurrences were identified among all patients. The median overall disease-free survival was 43 months (range, 22.4 to 66.7 months). Five-year disease-free survival did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (80.5% vs 80.4%, P = 0.839). Five-year local recurrence-free survival did not differ significantly either between the 2 groups (93.7% vs 94.9%, P = 0.653). Five-year overall survival rates of patients with or without leakage were 90.9% and 86.3%, respectively (P = 0.242). Five-year cancer-specific survival rates of patients with or without leakage were 92.2% and 86.3%, respectively (P = 0.248).Conclusion:After preoperative CRT, an anastomotic leak is not associated with a significant increase in local recurrence or long-term survival in rectal cancer.

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