The impact of major postoperative complications on long-term outcomes following curative resection of colon cancer
Purpose: The objective is to analyze the impact of severe postoperative complications in patients undergoing curative surgery for colon cancer. Material and methods: From a prospective database, we identified patients with stage I-III disease (AJCC) who underwent surgery between 2000 and 2014. Patients were selected with major complications (IIIb on the Clavien-Dindo classification) and with no major complications. Variables were analyzed in both groups. Local, peritoneal and distant recurrence together with overall survival and disease-free survival were analyzed. Results: Of a total of 950 patients, 51 (5.3%) experienced major complications. Operative mortality was 2.6%. Age, ASA grade, urgent surgery, pre-operative hemoglobin, right-sided location, operative time, transfusion, conversion to open surgery, were all associated with major complications (all P < 0.05). With a median follow-up of 84.8 and 40 months in both groups, there was greater incidence of local recurrences in patients experiencing complications (2.4% vs 7.8%; P=0.03 OR 3.39, 95% CI 1.12-10.24), being more marked in stage III patients (4.2% vs 21%; P=0.005, OR 6.13 95% CI 1.74-21.56). In the stage III group, peritoneal recurrence was significantly greater in patients with complications (13.6% vs 31.6%; P=0.04 OR 2.92 95% CI 1.04-8.18). Patients with major complications had a significantly lower overall survival (P=0.024) than patients with no complications both at 5 years (78.9% vs 68.8%) and 10 years (74.6% vs 32.1%). The same trend was observed for disease-free survival (71.6% vs 48.3% and 69.8% vs 32.2%; P=0.013). Conclusion: The development of major complications following colectomy for colon cancer has a negative impact on long-term oncologic outcomes, especially in stage III disease.