Clinical characteristics of multiple primary colorectal cancers

Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Jun;40(2):71-4. doi: 10.4143/crt.2008.40.2.71. Epub 2008 Jun 30.


Purpose: Although multiple primary colorectal cancer has been recognized as a significant clinical entity, its clinical and pathological features and its prognosis are still controversial. The purpose of this study was to clarify clinical and pathological features of multiple primary colorectal cancer.

Materials and methods: Among 1669 patients who underwent surgery for primary colorectal cancer from January 1997 to June 2005, 26 patients (1.6%) with multiple primary colorectal cancer were identified. We reviewed clinical characteristics including diagnostic interval, lesions, operating methods, and TNM stage, and we defined the index lesion as the most advanced lesion among the synchronous lesions. For the purposes of the study, the colon and rectum were classified into three segments. The right-side colon included the appendix, cecum, ascending colon, hepatic flexure, and transverse colon, and the left-side colon included the splenic flexure, descending colon, and sigmoid colon.

Results: Of the 26 patients with multiple primary colorectal cancers, nineteen patients were male and seven patients were female, with a mean age of 61.5 years. Nineteen patients had synchronous colorectal cancers and seven patients had metachronous colorectal cancers. In the metachronous cases, the mean diagnostic interval was 36.8 months. The site of the first lesion in metachronous colorectal cancers was the right colon in five cases (71.4%) and the left colon in two cases (28.6%), and the site of the second lesion was the rectum in six cases (55.5%), the right colon in three cases (33.3%), and the left colon in one case. The TNM stage of the second lesions in the metachronous colorectal cancers was stage II in four cases (57.1%), stage III in one case (14.3%), and stage IV in one case (14.3%). For the synchronous colorectal cancers, the operation methods were single-segment resection combined with endoscopic mucosal resection in five cases (26.3%), single-segment resection alone in six cases, two-segment resection in six cases, and total colectomy in two cases.

Conclusion: In metachronous colorectal cancers, the secondary lesions were later-stage cancer. Therefore, careful postoperative follow-up is necessary for patients who have undergone surgery for colorectal cancers. Further study of therapeutic modalities is important for synchronous colorectal cancers.

Keywords: Colorectal neoplasms; Metachronous; Multiple primary cancers; Synchronous.