Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) is one manifestation of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Tumor growth on intestinal surfaces and associated fluid accumulation eventually result in bowel obstruction and incapacitating levels of ascites, which profoundly affect the quality of life for affected patients. PC appears resistant to traditional 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy, and surgery was formerly reserved for palliative purposes only. In the absence of effective treatment, the historical prognosis for these patients was extremely poor, with an invariably fatal outcome. These poor outcomes likely explain why PC secondary to CRC has received little attention from oncologic researchers. Thus, data are lacking regarding incidence, clinical disease course, and accurate treatment evaluation for patients with PC. Recently, population-based studies have revealed that PC occurs relatively frequently among patients with CRC. Risk factors for developing PC have been identified: right-sided tumor, advanced T-stage, advanced N-stage, poor differentiation grade, and younger age at diagnosis. During the past decade, both chemotherapeutical and surgical treatments have achieved promising results in these patients. A chance for long-term survival or even cure may now be offered to selected patients by combining radical surgical resection with intraperitoneal instillation of heated chemotherapy. This combined procedure has become known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. This editorial outlines recent advancements in the medical and surgical treatment of PC and reviews the most recent information on incidence and prognosis of this disease. Given recent progress, treatment should now be considered in every patient presenting with PC.
Keywords: Chemotherapy; Colorectal cancer; Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy; Peritoneal carcinomatosis; Prognosis.