Comprehensive multidisciplinary care program for elderly colorectal cancer patients: "From prehabilitation to independence"

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2018 Dec;44(12):1894-1900. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2018.08.028. Epub 2018 Sep 8.


Background: We implemented a multidisciplinary pre- and rehabilitation program for elderly patients (≥75 years of age) in a single center consisting of prehabilitation, laparoscopic surgery and early rehabilitation with the intention to lower 1-year overall mortality.

Methods: In this study we compared all patients that underwent elective surgery for stage I-III colorectal cancer before and during development and after implementation of the program (2010-2011, 2012-2013 and 2014-2015). Primary endpoint was 1-year overall mortality, the secondary endpoint was 30-day postoperative outcome.

Results: Eighty-six consecutive patients were included in the study cohort and compared to 63 patients from 2010 to 2011 and 75 patients from 2012 to 2013. Patient characteristics were comparable; median age in the study cohort was 80.6. Seventy-three patients (85%) participated in the program, 54 (63%) of whom followed a prehabilitation program, 46 (53%) of whom were discharged to a rehabilitation center. Laparoscopic surgery increased over the years from 70% to 83% in the study cohort. There was a trend in lower 1-year overall mortality: 11% versus 3% (p=0.08). There was a significant reduction in cardiac complications and the number of patients with a prolonged length of stay (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Multidisciplinary care for elderly colorectal cancer patients that includes prehabilitation and rehabilitation is feasible and may contribute to lower complications and reduced length of stay. This study did not show a clear benefit of implementing a comprehensive care program including both prehabilitation and rehabilitation. Dedicated multidisciplinary care seems the key attributer to favorable outcomes of CRC surgery in elderly patients.

Keywords: Aged; Colorectal neoplasms; Postoperative complications; Rehabilitation; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Recovery of Function
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome