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Salvage abdominoperineal resection for anal squamous cell carcinoma: use, risk factors, and outcomes in a Canadian population


Background — Previous studies have reported that 30% to 40% of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anus will require salvage abdominoperineal resection after chemoradiotherapy.

Objective — The purpose of this study was to identify the use, risk factors, and impact on survival of salvage abdominal perineal resection for squamous cell carcinoma of the anus.

Design — This was a retrospective, population-based cohort study.

SettingsPatients treated in Ontario, Canada through a single-payer universal healthcare system, were included.

Patients — Patients included all incident cases of squamous cell anal cancer who underwent curative intent radiotherapy from 2007 to 2015.

Main Outcome Measures — Risk of salvage abdominoperineal resection, factors associated with salvage abdominoperineal resection, and survival were measured.

Results — A total of 1125 patients were treated with curative intent radiotherapy for squamous cell cancer of the anus. Within this cohort, salvage surgery was performed in 8% (93/1125), whereas 14% (156/1125) required a permanent colostomy. In log-binomial regression, younger age was associated with salvage surgery, whereas sex, cancer stage, socioeconomic status, and HIV were not. There was a suggested lower risk of salvage surgery in those who completed chemoradiation (relative risk = 0.67 (95% CI, 0.43-1.03)). Crude 5-year overall survival rate was 73% (95% CI, 70%-76%) in those not requiring salvage surgery and 48% (95% CI, 37%-58%) in those who did. In Cox models, mortality was higher in patients requiring salvage surgery compared with those who did not (adjusted HR = 2.20 (95% CI, 1.65-2.94), whereas improved survival was seen in those who completed chemoradiation (HR = 0.65 (95% CI, 0.42-0.82)).

Limitations — The study was limited by its potential residual confounding by indication for salvage surgery.

Conclusions — In this large, contemporary cohort of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, the proportion of patients undergoing salvage surgery was considerably lower than previous reports. Younger age was associated with salvage surgery, and there was a suggestion of lower risk of salvage surgery with completion of chemoradiation. Patients requiring salvage surgery had poor 5-year overall survival.



Patel SV, Ko G, Raphael MJ, Booth CM, Brogly SB, Kalyvas M, Li W, Hanna T. Dis Colon Rectum. 2020; 63(6):748-57. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

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