PURPOSE: Ulcerative colitis is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is a standard surgical management of patients with ulcerative colitis who have cancer or dysplasia, but the oncologic risk of stapled anastomosis vs mucosectomy with handsewn anastomosis is debated. We compare the risk of new cancer or recurrence in the pouch or rectal cuff in patients with ulcerative colitis undergoing stapled anastomosis vs mucosectomy with handsewn anastomosis.
METHODS: This study was performed as a retrospective analysis of the clinical database at a single center, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. The patients with ulcerative colitis associated with colorectal dysplasia or cancer who underwent ileal pouch-anal anastomosis between 1981 and 2009 were evaluated. The development of dysplasia or cancer at ileoanal anastomosis or in the pelvic pouch was assessed.
RESULTS: Eighty-one patients underwent stapled (n = 59) or handsewn (n = 22) ileal pouch-anal anastomosis; 52 had evidence of dysplasia and 29 had colorectal cancer (24 colon; 5 rectum) at the time of surgery. Median follow-up was 76.1 months. Two of 10 (20%) patients with handsewn anastomosis and 0% patients with stapled anastomosis developed metastatic cancer. One patient with a 33-year history of colitis, a previously resected right-sided colon cancer, and subsequent high-grade dysplasia in the rectum underwent a handsewn pelvic pouch and developed an unresectable adenocarcinoma at the cuff 4 years later. A second patient with a 10-year history of colitis underwent handsewn pelvic pouch and developed dysplasia in the pouch 8 years after surgery. Nine patients were dead at last follow-up (11%). Of those patients, both colorectal cancer-related deaths were in patients with handsewn anastomoses. Differences in overall 5-year survival between the groups did not reach statistical significance. This study was limited by the sample size in subgroups and the few outcome events.
CONCLUSIONS: Performing a stapled ileal pelvic anal anastomosis does not appear to be inferior to mucosectomy and handsewn anastomosis in oncologic outcome, and it seems appropriate in patients with ulcerative colitis associated with coexisting dysplasia or cancer.