Factors Affecting the Prognosis in the Management of Neoplastic Left Colonic Obstruction

Ayed Karim |

La tunisie chirurgicale - 2019 ; Vol 2019



Colon's neoplastic-obstruction is the most common complication of left colonic cancer.

Treatment remains controversial.

The aim of our study is to elaborate the therapeutic modalities in case of a left-colonic-neoplastic occlusion, to identify the predictive factors of morbi-mortality and to evaluate the long-term prognosis in terms of survival.


This is a retrospective, descriptive study of patients operated on for left colon adenocarcinoma in occlusion at the general surgery department of the University Hospital Center Habib Bougatfa of Bizerte - Tunisia during a period of 07 years, from 01 January 2008 to 31 December 2015.


The study population was characterized by a male predominance with a mean age of 63 years.

All cases underwent a surgical treatment.

 Decompressing stoma as bridge was performed on nine patients while 49 patients underwent a colic-resection procedure.

The morbidity rate was at 39%, the mortality rate was at 10% and the five-year survival rate reached the level of 77%.

In our study, predictive factors for mortality, morbidity, and factors affecting survival were identified.

Decompressing stoma as bridge to the surgery was associated with lower morbidity and better survival.


Colonic-neoplastic occlusion is a serious pathology. Decompressing stoma as bridge to the surgery remains the preferred treatment during the first surgical stage allowing a colonic -resection in good conditions and offering the patients a lower rate of morbi-mortality and a better survival.

Mots Clés

obstruction -Colon cancer - Surgical treatment - Prognosis

Introduction :

The colonic neoplastic obstruction is the most common complication of left colonic cancers. It can reveal the cancer from 10% to 19% depending on the series [1]. Its treatment remains a subject of controversy. In fact, if for right colonic tumors in obstruction, right hemicolectomy with immediate recovery of continuity has obtained unanimity of authors, the treatment of left colonic cancers in obstruction is still controversial. Several therapeutic procedures are available. It can consist of either the implementation of a stent followed by a surgical resection or a surgical treatment from the outset. The suggested surgical strategies consist of a first colonic resection with or without anastomosis or a colostomy of discharge followed by a resection.

The aim of this survey is to study therapeutic modalities of left neoplastic colonic obstruction in the general surgery department of the teaching hospital of Bizerte, Tunisia, identify predictive factors of mobi-mortality and evaluate the long-term prognosis in terms of survival and recidivism.




It is about a retrospective, descriptive and pronostic study based on patients operated on neoplastic obstruction of the left colon in the general surgery department of Habib Bougatfa teaching hospital, in Bizerte, during the 7 years between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015.


Inclusion criteria: For the study, we worked on patients who were operated on adenocarcinoma of complicated left colon with colonic obstruction, revealing cancer or occurring on patients with ongoing exploration. The obstruction is defined by a full matter and gas stop for at least 24 hours, associated with on or multiple hydro-aerial in the radiograph of the abdomen with no previous preparation.

Non-inclusion criteria: Patients admitted for right neoplastic occlusion of the colon were not taken for the study, neither those who were admitted for rectal neoplastic obstruction nor patients who underwent a programmed surgery for a left rectal cancer.

Exclusion criteria: The study excludes patients with neoplastic obstruction of left colon, which buckled under gastric suction, medical files that could not be exploited and the other forms of histological adenocarcinoma.

Data collection: In order to study our population and meet suggested goals, a framework of 364 variables has been elaborated. These variables were inputted based on data, operating reports and anatomic pathologies included in patients’ files.

These variables were linked to clinical, para-clinical, anatomic pathologies and surgical aspects as well as data recollected after surgeries and remote monitoring.

Decision criteria that were hold in our study were morbidity, mortality, survival and recurrence. For statistical analysis, we used the SPSS 20.0 software. We did, on the one hand, a descriptive study, and on the other hand, we did an analytical univariate study, then a multivariate. The analytical study aimed to determine predictive factors of morbidity, mortality, recurrence as well as factors influencing survival. The threshold of signification, P, was set at 0.05.


The subjects of our series is formed by 51 patients. The average age is 63 years old, with a majority of males. The obstruction was cancer revealing for 50 patients (98%) and has occurred during the treatment of a colon cancer for one patient. Not scheduled abdomen x-rays showed pathology for all patients. Abdominal scan was performed on 35 patients, which helped identify the nature of neoplastic obstruction in all these cases. The sigmoid indicated the most common tumor localization. The emergency treatment was surgical in all cases: a colostomy from up-front was conducted for 18% of the patients and a colic-resection was accomplished for 82% of patients. It was segmental for 90% of cases and total for the other 10% of patients who had emergency colic-resection. Immediate recovery of anastomosis occurred for 7% of patients. For 94% of patients, second surgical interventions were performed in order to resect the tumor and/or recover anastomosis. A third surgery time was held for 6% of patients for anastomosis recovery.

On the anatomical pathologies plan, tumor was classified in T3 category for 84% of cases. The average number of ganglions collected was 12. We found node-positive in 61% of cases, vascular embolisms were found with 14% of patients. Resection was of type R2 in 10% of cases.

Post-operation follow-ups were easy in 51% of cases. Global morbidity was of 39% and global mortality was of 10%. Average duration to death was 17 days.

Predictive factors of mortality were in univariate analysis a surgery duration superior to 240 minutes, Hartmann intervention, removal of surrounding organ, tumor intrusion bleeding and intraoperative transfusion, post-operation complications occurrence and medical post-operation complications occurrence (table 1). In multivariate analysis, Hartmann intervention (P=0035; OR=2.69), surrounding organ removal (P=0.04; OR=3.33), tumor intrusion(P = 0,04; OR = 3,33), post-op complications occurrence (P = 0,15; OR = 2,96) were independent factors of predictive mortality.

Global morbiditywas of 39%.

Factors of predictive morbidity were, in univariate study, cardiovascular comorbidity, segmental resection, tumorintrusion, tumor perforation, bleeding and intraoperative transfusion, peritonitis presence and a surgical duration superior to 3 hours. Furthermore, the making of a colostomy  decreased in a significant statistical way the pot-op morbidity. In fact, the global morbidity was 0% for patients who had a colostomy of discharge versus 49% for patients who had a different therapeutic attitude with a P=0.03 (table 2). In multivariate studycardiovascularcomorbidity(P=0,006; OR=2,5), tumor intrusion(P=0,04; OR=2,4) and intraoperative transfusion(P = 0,012; OR =2,24) we independent factors of predictive morbidity.

Global survival, based on the Kaplan Mayer curve was 77% at 5 years (chart 1). Factors affecting global survival in univariate analysis were a duration of admission and surgical intervention superior to ten hours (49.8% vs 93%; P=0.01), the presence of distant metastases (82% vs 22%; P=0.001), invasion of neighboring organs (89% vs 2%; P=0.0001), presence of vascular embolism (89% vs 12%; P=0.03), tumoral resection type R2 (82% vs 22%; P=0.001). These factors decreased, in a significant statistical way, global survival. The making of colostomy of discharge increased, in a significant statistical way, the survival. In multivariate analysis, the presence of vascular embolisms (P=0.038; OR=2.87) (Chart 2), colic resection type R2 (P=0.003; OR=4.48) (Chart 3) and invasion of neighboring organs (P=0.003; OR=5.55) (Chart 4) were independent factors affecting global survival.

The average decline in our study was of 33 months.

Having concluded this study, 53% of patients were alive with no recurrence and no stoma, 10% were alive with no recurrence and with stoma, 10% died and the cause of death was colon cancer, 4% had recurrence and 16% were not seen again.


Colorectal cancer is classified in the third rank of cancers in frequency and it represents the second cause of death by cancer [2].

Colonic obstruction is a particular mode of colonic adenocarcinoma revelation and constitutes a therapeutic emergency.

The urgency of the surgical gesture is associated to a high post-op morbidity and mortality. In our series, global morbidity was 39% and global mortality was 10%. In literature, morbidity is estimated between 38 and 51% whilst 20% and 30% in scheduled oncologic colonic surgery [3], [4], [5].

Mortality forwarding an emergency surgery for colonic cancer is estimated between 10 and 20% whilst for schedueled surgery, it is between 3 and 6%, and this, whatever the type of therapeutic attitude that was adapted [4]. Many factors were incriminated as predictive mortality. The factors most reported to literature are advanced age [3], [8], [9], ASA score [8] and the urgent character of surgical care.

In our series, adavanced age (superior to 65 years old) was not a predictive factor of mortality. Tekkis and Al.fournd that the risk of post-op mortality increased with age [3]. In fact, patients who had colonic neoplastic obstruction whose age was between 65 and 70 years old had a post-op death risk, in multivariate analysis, multiplied by 2.97 comparing to other patients aged by less than 65 years old and patients aged between 75 and 84 years old, had a risk multiplied by 5.87 [3]. Bakker and al found that post-op mortality risk was 2.3% for patients aged less than 73 years old and was 7.3% for patients aged more than 75 years old. In multivariate analysis, age equal or superior to 75 years old remained an independent risk factor of mortality in the global series (OR=2.25 – IC 95% : 2.201 – 2.954).

In this same study, post-op mortality was significantly higher for the group of patients who had emergency operation (8.5% vs 3.4% with P=0.001). Furthermore, the presence of comorbidities determined by the ASA score represents an independent risk factor of post-op mortality, whether it is in colorectal oncological surgery performed in emergency (OR=2.65 – IC 95% : 2.026 - 3.453) [8].

Regarding post-op morbidity, it is mainly related to physiological and hydro electrolytic modifications that the obstruction creates as well as the increased risk of infectious pre and post operations, because of bacterial proliferation driven by stercoral. In addition, the surgery of colonic neoplastic obstructions is frequently performed in the on-duty period of young surgeons. Many studies showed that in these conditions, patients are exposed to a higher risk of post-op colorectal surgery complications [10], [11].

The surgical treatment of left colonic neoplastic obstructions is a subject of multiple controversy and unanimity is way far from happening. Two main categories of intervention are opposed: the surgery of two or three surgical times and the surgery with one surgical time.

In our series, the making of a colostomy followed by a resection was associated with minor morbidity and mortality and with a better survival. This was noted in the study of Chéreau and al. who compared first colostomy, Hartmann intervention and colonic resection with anastomosis from outset in terms of morbidity, mortality and long-term survival. It was found that discharge colostomy had a morbidity (9.8 vs 54.4 vs 45.5%) and mortality (39 vs 45 vs 54%) which is less than other attitudes. In addition, first colostomy is associated to a hospitalization duration shorter than the Hartmann intervention’s (20 vs 27 days).

The number of ganglions collected was higher for patients who had a first colostomy (29 vs 22 ganglions). The average survival (26.1 vs 7 vs 18.1 months) as well as the survival to 5 years (39.2 vs 24.2 vs 20.5%) were better with a stoma rate way lower (7 vs 50%) [12].

Cancers prognostic plosive of colon is unfavorable because, first, from a general precarious state of patients who are often aged, holders of multiple defect and, second, from the urgent character of the surgical intervention that is not always performed in the optimal conditions.

In our study, survival to 5 years was at 77%. It is, in literature, between 19 and 52%. The urgent character of care is one of the major factors for bad prognostic of colonic tumors in obstruction [1], [13], [14], [15]. It often results to a colonic resection type R1 [16]. The survival with no recurrence and global survival are significantly decreased in the case of colonic resection type R1 [17].

The study of Sa Cunha and al. [18] confirmed the severity of left colong cancer in obstruction. In this case, 32% of patients had metastatic from the outset and 36% of tumors were classified T4. The size of the tumor a pejorative factor. Saha and al showed that global survival to 5 years moved from 66% for a tumor size inferior to 2cm to 41% for a tumor size of 6 cm [19].

Regarding the tumor recurrence, we had in our series two cases of loco-regional recurrence. Cortet and al. found in his series that univariate study, the rate of loco-regional recurrence and at a distance of 5 years it was significantly higher for patients with obstruction than those who underwent scheduled intervention (28% vs 2%, P<0.0001). in multivariate study, the occlusive character was an independent bad prognostic factor on the loco-regional recurrence (Odds ratio=1.53, P=0.04) [20].



Optimal surgical treatment of left colon obstructed cancers remains a subject of controversy. The data from literature do not afford a definitive answer with a proof of good level allowing to settle from all different attitudes. All availablestudiescomparingdifferentmodalities are ratherretrospective.

Discharge colostomy is recommended by multiple authors. It allow a lower mortality and morbidity and a better survival. However, the proof level remains low. Multicentric studies are necessary to carry out a factual satisfying answer to better plan therapeutic modalities of patients.

Conflict of interest: No conflict of interest between authors.



Table 1: Predicitve Factors of Mortality





Invasion of neighboringorgans

6 ( 50%)

45 ( 4%)


Hartmann Intervention

9 ( 33%)

42 ( 4%)


Removal of neighboringorgans

3 (100%)

48 ( 48%)


Intraoperative Tumoral Effraction

4 (75%)

47 ( 4%)



7 ( 42%)

44 ( 4%)


Intraoperative Transfusion

7 ( 42%)

44 ( 4%)


Post-op Coomplications

20 ( 25%)

31 ( 0%)



Table 2: Predictive Factors of Morbidity






9 ( 78%)

42 ( 31%)



6 ( 83%)



Segmental ColonicResection

34 (50%)

17 (19%)


Tumoral Effraction

4 ( 100%)







Intraoperative Transfusion

7 ( 87%)

44 (29%)


Tumoral Perforation

12 (67%)

39 ( 32%)


Surgery Duration

> 223 minutes

< 223 minutes











Chart 1: Global Survival Based on Kaplan Mayer Curve


Chart 2: Survival Curve Based the Presence of Vascular Embolisms


Chart 3: SurvivalCurveBased on the Resection Type

Chart 4: SurvivalCurveBased on the Invasion of NeighboringOrgans


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