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The prognostic impact of bowel perforation following self-expanding metal stent as a bridge to surgery in colorectal cancer obstruction

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Self-expanding metallic stent (SEMS) as a bridge to surgery for obstructive colorectal cancer may cause perforation of the tumor and thereby induce tumor spread and increase risk of recurrence, and eventually death. Evidence of the prognostic impact of SEMS-related perforation is, however, sparse. We conducted a long-term follow-up study to compare characteristics, overall survival, and recurrence rates between patients with and without SEMS-related bowel perforation.


This long-term follow-up study included obstructive colorectal cancer patients treated with SEMS as a bridge to surgery during a 10-year period at two primary and tertiary referral centers. The primary outcome was overall survival, and the secondary outcome was recurrence. We compared mortality and recurrence in patients with and without SEMS-related perforations by Cox proportion hazard regression, adjusting for age, comorbidity, and disease stage. The recurrence risk was examined for patients undergoing curative resection and computed treating death as a competing risk.


From January 2004 to December 2013, 123 patients were treated with SEMS as a bridge to surgery. Of these patients, 15 (12%) had SEMS-related perforations. Median follow-up was 4.8 years (range 0.0–10.9 years). The overall 5-year survival was 58% for the entire cohort, but 37 and 61% for patients with and without perforations, respectively, corresponding to an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.6 (95% CI 0.8–3.3) in favor of patient without perforation. The overall 5-year recurrence rate was 34%, but 45 and 33% for patients with and without perforation, respectively, corresponding to an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.4 (95% CI 0.5–3.7) in disfavor of patients with perforation.


SEMS-related perforations are common and may be associated with decreased survival and increased recurrence, although estimates in this study were imprecise.

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Correspondence to Tue Højslev Avlund.

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Tue Højslev Avlund, Rune Erichsen, Sissel Ravn, Zydrunas Ciplys, Jens Christian Andersen, Søren Laurberg, and Lene H. Iversen have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Avlund, T.H., Erichsen, R., Ravn, S. et al. The prognostic impact of bowel perforation following self-expanding metal stent as a bridge to surgery in colorectal cancer obstruction. Surg Endosc 32, 328–336 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-017-5680-0

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  • Colonic neoplasms
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Surgery