Background: Colorectal carcinomas that present with perforation are stated in the literature to carry a poor prognosis. This study is to verify or refute the dismal connotation associated with perforated colorectal carcinomas (PCCs).
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 1551 patients with colorectal carcinoma revealed that 51 (3.3%) patients presented with perforation. Mary Immaculate and St. John's Queens Hospital Divisions of the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens chart and tumor board data were retrieved for the period 1983 through 1993.
Results: Localized perforation with abscess formation occurred in 31 (61%) patients, and free perforation with generalized peritonitis in occurred 20 (39%) patients. Sixteen (31%) patients had distant metastasis at diagnosis with a mean survival of only 6 months. Overall operative mortality rate was 12%, and overall 5-year survival rate was 32%. By excluding 16 patients with documented Stage IV disease at diagnosis and 6 operative mortalities (3 of whom also had Stage IV disease at diagnosis), the remaining 32 patients had a mean survival of 59 months and a 5-year survival of 58%.
Conclusion: In view of the 58% survival in our subset of patients, aggressive management is recommended. This includes management of sepsis and radical surgical resection of adjacent involved organs. A negative attitude associated with PCC is not substantiated in this retrospective 10-year study.