Oncological Assessment of Stent Placement for Obstructive Colorectal Cancer from Circulating Cell-Free DNA and Circulating Tumor DNA Dynamics

Ann Surg Oncol. 2018 Mar;25(3):737-744. doi: 10.1245/s10434-017-6300-x. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Background: The self-expanding metallic stent (SEMS) provides effective decompression for patients with malignant large bowel obstruction (MLBO); however, mechanical damage to malignant cells from insertion may negatively affect prognosis, similar to surgical manipulation, and its oncological safety is unclear. We examined mechanical damage from SEMS placement using circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

Methods: Between 1 November 2014 and 30 June 2017, 35 MLBO patients were analyzed, comprising 25 SEMS patients and 10 transanal decompression tube (TDT) patients (control). Blood samples were collected before and after decompression on days 0, 1, 3, and 7. cfDNA, ctDNA, white blood cells, C-reactive protein, and lactate dehydrogenase were analyzed.

Results: The clinical success rates of SEMS and TDT were 88 and 90%, respectively (p = 1.0). The cfDNA concentration on day 7 was significantly higher in the SEMS group than in the TDT group (992 vs. 308 ng/mL; p = 0.005). A significant increase in ctDNA was observed in the SEMS group compared with the TDT group (83% vs. 22%; p = 0.002). The cfDNA concentration showed strong positive correlations with ctDNA and lactate dehydrogenase (R 2 = 0.838 and 0.593, respectively), and a weak positive correlation with C-reactive protein (R 2 = 0.263).

Conclusions: Despite equivalent clinical success rates, SEMS placement increased plasma levels of cfDNA and ctDNA by tumor manipulation, but TDT did not. Colonic stenting showed oncological risk in terms of molecular analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / blood
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / genetics*
  • Circulating Tumor DNA / blood
  • Circulating Tumor DNA / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Decompression, Surgical*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / blood*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / blood*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Expandable Metallic Stents / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids
  • Circulating Tumor DNA