Medline: 8024357

Annals of Surgery 220(1): 40-49, 1994.

Recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal: predictors of initial treatment failure and results of salvage therapy.

Longo WE, Vernava AM, Wade TP, et al.


The outcomes of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal treated by either sphincter-preserving procedures or radical surgery were evaluated, with the goals of identifying factors predicting treatment failure and quantifying results of salvage therapy in patients with recurrent disease. BASIC PROCEDURES: A population-based study on all patients in all 159 hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 1987 to 1991 was carried out. Data were compiled from several national computerized VA data sets. Supplementary information from local tumor registrars also was obtained, including demographic information, discharge summaries, operative reports, pathology reports, and medical oncology and radiation oncology summaries. From these sources, information on tumor histology, tumor stage, tumor grade, presence of regional or distant metastases, surgical procedures, use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy (RT), toxicity of chemotherapy and RT, development of recurrent disease, treatment of recurrence, survival, and cause of death were obtained. MAIN FINDINGS: Four hundred five patients with anal cancer were identified by computer search, and 204 (51%) were evaluable; 164 of 204 (80%) had squamous cell carcinoma, 137 of whom (84%) were treated with sphincter-preserving procedures, and 27 of whom (16%) were treated by by radical surgery. One hundred fourteen of 138 (83%) were treated by multimodality therapy, which we defined as local excision followed by chemotherapy and RT. The mean dose of RT among patients treated by multimodality therapy was 4200 +/- 540 cGy and 82% of those treated with multimodality therapy received 5-FU/mitomycin C. Recurrent disease was diagnosed in 43 of all 149 patients (29%) with potentially curable disease. (stages I-III) Multivariate analysis revealed that stage at diagnosis (p = 0.04) and method of treatment (p = 0.03) were the sole predictors of recurrence. Fifty-three percent of patients who underwent salvage abdominoperineal resection (APR) are alive, whereas only 19% who underwent salvage chemotherapy with or without RT are alive. PRINCIPAL

These data indicate that multimodality therapy currently is being employed in the majority of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal in the VA system. Tumor stage and method of treatment appear to affect the likelihood of development of recurrent disease. Salvage APR has curative potential. Results with salvage chemotherapy and RT are disappointing.

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