Five-year follow-up after radical surgery for colorectal cancer. Results of a prospective randomized trial

Arch Surg. 1995 Oct;130(10):1062-7. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430100040009.


Objective: To determine whether an intensified follow-up of patients with colorectal cancer can lead to improved reresectability and a better long-term survival.

Design: A prospective randomized trial of 106 patients.

Setting: Oulu University Hospital, a referral center in northern Finland.

Patients: A total of 106 consecutive patients who underwent radical resection for colorectal cancer, 54 of whom were randomized into a conventional follow-up group and 52 into an intensified follow-up group.

Main outcome measures: After a 5-year follow-up, the time of detection of recurrence, the recurrence rates, the first method showing recurrence, the mode of recurrence, reresectability, and survival were compared between the groups.

Results: The recurrences were identified earlier in the intensified follow-up group than in the conventional follow-up group (mean +/- SD, 10 +/- 5 months vs 15 +/- 10 months). The overall recurrence rate was 41%, with 39% in the conventional group and 42% in the intensified group. Carcinoembryonic antigen determination was the most common method showing recurrence in both groups. Endoscopy and ultrasound were beneficial in the intensified follow-up group, but computed tomography failed to improve the diagnostics. The mode of recurrence did not differ between the groups. Radical resections were performed on 19% (8/43) of the patients, 14% (3/21) in the conventional group and 22% (5/22) in the intensified group. The cumulative 5-year survival was 54% in the conventional group and 59% in the intensified group.

Conclusion: Earlier detection of recurrent colorectal cancer by intensified follow-up does not lead to either significantly increased reresectability or improved 5-year survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / mortality
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reoperation
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen