Factors affecting local recurrence of colonic adenocarcinoma

G. J.C. Harris, J. M. Church, A. J. Senagore, I. C. Lavery, T. L. Hull, S. A. Strong, V. W. Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The aim of this retrospective study was to determine which aspects of tumor morphology and histology influenced the incidence of local recurrence after curative resection of colonic adenocarcinoma. METHODS: Patients who had a curative resection for a primary colonic adenocarcinoma between 1980 and 1993 (inclusive) were identified from the colorectal cancer database in the Department of Colorectal Surgery. The charts of patients diagnosed with a local recurrence were then reviewed and their findings at operation and histologic assessment analyzed. Patients were followed up for at least five years or until death. RESULTS: Over the period of study, 1,031 patients had a curative resection for colonic adenocarcinoma. Local recurrences were detected in 32 patients (3.1 percent). The gender distribution of patients with local recurrence was 18 males (56.3 percent) and 14 females (43.7 percent) with a mean age of 63.4 years. The median time to local recurrence was 13 (range, 2-71) months. The distribution of primary tumors that recurred locally favored the cecum (n = 9; 28.1 percent) and sigmoid colon (n = 14; 43.7 percent) over other locations; these were, however, the most common sites of primary lesions. Less common sites included the ascending colon (n = 0; 0 percent), hepatic flexure (n = 2; 6.3 percent), transverse colon (n = 1; 3.1 percent), splenic flexure (n = 3; 9.4 percent), and descending colon (n = 3; 9.4 percent). Of the total number of tumors, 101 were found to be adherent to at least 1 other intra-abdominal viscus, and 12 (11.9 percent) recurred locally. Other factors associated with local recurrence were tumor perforation and fistulation. Overall, 30 tumors (2.9 percent) were perforated, and 6 (20 percent) recurred locally. Four tumors (0.4 percent) were fistulating; of these, 2 (50 percent) recurred locally. Advanced tumor stage was also associated with an increased rate of local recurrence (Stage I, 0 percent; Stage II, 2.05 percent; Stage III, 7.0 percent; and Stage IV, 6.1 percent). Similarly, tumor differentiation was related to local recurrence, with no instances in well-differentiated tumors, 2.8 percent in moderately differentiated tumors, and 6.8 percent in poorly differentiated tumors. CONCLUSIONS: The location of the primary tumor is not a factor in producing local recurrence. Fixity to another viscus, perforation or fistulation, advanced stage of disease, and differentiation of tumor appear to increase the chances of recurrence of curatively resected colonic carcinoma. Although the recurrence rate is higher in these groups than for tumors overall, definitive oncologic surgery prevents recurrence in the majority of cases. No colonic tumor that was T1 or T2 (N0, N1, or N2) or that was well differentiated recurred locally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1034
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonic adenocarcinoma
  • Local recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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