Wound recurrence following conventional treatment of colorectal cancer: A rare but perhaps underestimated problem

W. Terence Reilly, Heidi Nelson, Georgene Schroeder, H. Sam Wieand, John Bolton, Michael J. O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

285 Scopus citations


Reports of trocar and extraction site tumor recurrences following laparoscopic colectomy raise concern that such recurrences may be occurring more frequently with laparoscopic compared with open colectomy. Contemporary data on the incidence of incisional recurrence following open colectomy, in the age of adjuvant therapies, are not available. PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to examine the incidence and clinical features of wound recurrence in current prospective trials including 1,711 patients with primary adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum treated for cure. METHODS: Files of all patients with recurrence (n = 623) were reviewed. Each site of recurrence was recorded separately. All patients have been followed prospectively, and 3- year and 4-year data are mature on 100 and 70 percent respectively. Stage at diagnosis was B2 in 344 patients and C in 1,367 patients (>4 nodes positive in 346 patients). RESULTS: Recurrence was identified in 623 patients (36.4 percent) and occurred at a mean of 1.5 years following primary treatment. Eleven patients (0.6 percent) had documented incisional recurrences (9 abdominal wound, 1 perineal wound, and 1 stoma wound). Only four were diagnosed clinically, and the remaining seven were diagnosed incidentally at reoperation. Of 11 patients with incisional wound recurrence, 2 had primary Stage B2 and 9 had primary Stage C disease. Nine of 11 patients were found to have multiple sites of recurrence at time of recurrence. At a mean follow-up of 1.8 years after recurrence, 3 of 11 patients are alive with disease, although 8 have died because of disease. CONCLUSIONS: Incisional recurrence is uncommon, although likely underestimated, following conventional treatment of colorectal carcinoma. Its occurrence is usually a harbinger of diffuse intra-abdominal disease. These data may provide useful information for investigations of laparoscopic approaches to colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1996


  • Colectomy
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Tumor recurrence
  • Wound implants
  • Wound recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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