Pelvic exenteration for recurrent colorectal carcinoma: a review

Cancer Invest. 1994;12(2):176-88. doi: 10.3109/07357909409024873.


Pelvic recurrence following curative resection for colorectal carcinoma continues to pose a challenge to the oncologist despite current multimodality therapy. Pelvic exenteration with or without sacral resection may provide long-term disease-free survival and a chance of cure for a small subset of patients in whom the recurrent disease is confined to the pelvis and can be resected with "clear" margins. For others with residual disease, exenteration may offer good palliation for the intractable symptoms, but no survival advantage. The clinical decision to perform exenteration with palliative intent must be individualized. This is generally not advised because of the short life expectancy in the face of prolonged convalescence. This technically demanding procedure is associated with significant morbidity, especially in patients with prior pelvic radiation. Current advances in urinary diversion and methods of pelvic reconstruction may significantly reduce these problems. The surgeon's experience and careful patient selection remain the most important determinants of success with this operation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Pelvic Exenteration / adverse effects
  • Pelvic Exenteration / methods*
  • Pelvic Exenteration / mortality
  • Quality of Life