Approximately 10% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) develop malignant large bowel obstruction (MLBO) at diagnosis. Furthermore, for 35% of patients with MLBO, curative primary tumor resection is unfeasible because of locally advanced disease and comorbidities. The practice of placing a self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS) has dramatically increased as an effective palliative treatment. Recent advances in systemic chemotherapy for metastatic CRC have significantly contributed to prolonging patients' prognosis and expanding the indications. However, the safety and efficacy of systemic chemotherapy in patients with SEMS have not been established. This review outlines the current status of this relatively new therapeutic strategy and future perspectives. Some reports on this topic have demonstrated that 1) systemic chemotherapy and the addition of molecular targeted agents contribute to prolonged survival in patients with SEMS; 2) delayed SEMS-related complications are a major concern, and this requires strict patient monitoring; however, primary tumor control by chemotherapy might result in decreased complications, especially regarding re-obstruction; and 3) using bevacizumab could be a risk factor for SEMS-related perforation, which may be lethal. Although this relatively new approach for unresectable stage IV obstructive CRC requires a well-planned clinical trial, this therapy could be promising for patients who are unideal candidates for emergency surgery and require immediate systemic chemotherapy.
Despite the recent advances in the systemic treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), prognostic outcomes have remained to be poor. Thus, what is needed is an innovative treatment approach. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting programmed death-1 (PD-1) and anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) have exhibited a durable response and dominated the treatment of various tumor types. However, in mCRC, the clinical benefit is limited in patients with deficient mismatch repair (dMMR) /high levels of microsatellite instability (MSI-H), comprising approximately 5% of mCRC cases, and some do not respond to ICI treatment. Thus, further research is needed to identify predictive biomarkers. The most urgent need is developing effective immunotherapy for patients with proficient mismatch repair (pMMR) /microsatellite stable (MSS) cancer, which comprises 95% of mCRC cases. Tumors with the pMMR/MSS phenotype often exhibit a lower tumor mutation burden and fewer tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes than dMMR/MSI-H, leading to immune tolerance and evasion in the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, a number of investigative studies aimed at overcoming tumor resistance in current immunotherapy approaches are underway. A better understanding on the complexity and diversity of the immune system's functioning within the tumor microenvironment will increase the potential for developing predictive biomarkers and novel therapeutic strategies to potentiate anti-tumor immunity in patients with mCRC. In this review, we summarize the most recent advances in immunotherapy based on the findings of pivotal clinical trials for patients with mCRC, highlighting potent therapeutic approaches and predictive biomarkers.
Objectives: We reviewed surgical outcomes after introducing a novel surgical technique for anal fistula surgery designed to preserve anal sphincter function and the anoderm.
Methods: We studied 200 male patients who underwent a functional preservative operative technique (FPOT group) for anal fistulas and 200 patients who underwent resection of trans-sphincteric anal fistulas (fistulectomy group) between February 2014 and September 2015. We compared complications, such as those affecting anal sphincter function, recurrence, and incontinence.
Results: Fistulas recurred in three (1.5%) patients in the FPOT group and two (1%) patients in the fistulectomy group. This difference was not significant. Other complications included gas leakage and other forms of incontinence in 1 (0.5%) and 14 (7%) patients in the FPOT and fistulectomy groups, respectively. Anal function assessment demonstrated that the FPOT was significantly better at preserving function than fistulectomy in all patients.
Conclusions: There were no significant differences between the FPOT and fistulectomy in terms of recurrence or complication rates. Also, because there was no decrease in postoperative anal function, we concluded that the FPOT is an effective preservative surgical technique for treating trans-sphincteric anal fistulas.
Objectives: Few studies have compared management and outcomes of bridge to surgery (BTS) for obstructive colonic cancer according to the location of the tumor. Additional information is needed about this procedure's characteristics and short-term and long-term outcomes. We aimed to compare patient and tumor characteristics, and outcomes of BTS for obstructive right-sided versus left-sided colonic cancers.
Methods: This was a retrospective, single center, cohort study. The study cohort comprised 149 patients, including 48 with right-sided and 101 with left-sided obstructive colonic cancers, who were treated with BTS between January 2007 and December 2017. Data on medical history, investigations, treatments, and prognosis were collected from an electronic database of a single hospital. The primary end points were overall (OS) and disease-free (DFS) survival and short-term surgical outcomes.
Results: Significantly more patients with right-sided cancers had postoperative complications (29.2% vs. 14.9%, p = 0.039). Additionally, postoperative chemotherapy was administered to a marginally significantly greater proportion of patients with left-sided cancers (29.2% vs 45.5%, p = 0.057). The long-term outcomes were comparable between the two groups (the 5-year OS rates were 67.6% and 80.9% [p = 0.117] and the 5-year DFS rates were 62.2% and 58.6% [p = 0.671]). Multivariate analyses using all studied variables showed that lymphovascular invasion, advanced T stage, and adjuvant chemotherapy were independent poor prognostic factors.
Conclusions: The long-term outcome was not different between the right- and left-sided groups. In a BTS setting, postoperative complications may reduce the compliance of adjuvant chemotherapy in right-sided cancers and affect long-term outcomes.
Objectives: In the 9th edition of the Japanese Classification of Colorectal, Appendiceal, and Anal Carcinoma (JCCRC), ovarian metastasis is classified as distant metastasis. We assessed the significance of resection of ovarian metastases and the validity of this 9th edition of JCCRC for ovarian metastases from colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the clinicopathological factors and overall survival of 17 patients with ovarian metastases from CRC who underwent resection and 110 female CRC patients with Stage IV (M1a) disease.
Results: The patients with only ovarian metastases who underwent resection had a longer median survival time than patients with both ovarian and peritoneal metastases who underwent resection (45.4 months vs. 9.3 months, P = 0.029). The 5-year overall survival of the patients with only ovarian metastases who underwent R0 resection was as long as that of the female Stage IV (M1a) CRC patients after R0 resection (50% vs. 48%, P = 0.334).
Conclusions: We found that, after resection, patients with only ovarian metastases had significantly better prognoses than patients with ovarian and peritoneal metastases. R0 resection of ovarian metastasis indicated as good prognosis as R0 resection of metastasis to one distant organ without ovaries. So the 9th edition of JCCRC, which classifies ovarian metastasis from CRC as distant metastasis, is appropriate.
Objectives: Incisional hernia is a common problem after colorectal surgery, and a laparoscopic approach does not reduce the incisional hernia rate. Previous reports have described the risk factors for incisional hernia; however, the impact of suture materials remains unclear. As such, this study compared the incisional hernia rate using different suture materials for abdominal wall closure after laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery.
Methods: Patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery between January 2014 and December 2016 were included in this study. We separated patients into the following two groups based on the suture materials used for abdominal wall closure: (1.) fast-absorbable group and (2.) non-absorbable group. The primary outcome was incisional hernia rate that was diagnosed using computed tomography. We compared outcomes between these two groups using propensity score matching.
Results: Before matching, 394 patients were included (168 in the fast-absorbable group and 226 in the non-absorbable group). After one-to-one matching, patients were stratified into the fast-absorbable group (n = 158) and the non-absorbable group (n = 158). The incisional hernia rate was higher in the fast-absorbable group than in the non-absorbable group (13.9% vs. 6.3%; P = 0.04). The median time to develop an incisional hernia was significantly shorter in the fast-absorbable group (6.7 months vs. 12.3 months; P < 0.01). The incidence of surgical site infection was not different between the two groups, but the incidence of suture sinus was lower in the fast-absorbable group (0% vs. 5.1%; P < 0.01).
Conclusions: The use of fast-absorbable sutures may increase the risk of incisional hernia after laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery.
Fecal incontinence (FI) is defined as involuntary or uncontrollable loss of feces. Gas incontinence is defined as involuntary or uncontrollable loss of flatus, while anal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of feces or flatus. The prevalence of FI in people over 65 in Japan is 8.7% in the male population and 6.6% among females. The etiology of FI is usually not limited to one specific cause, with risk factors for FI including physiological factors, such as age and gender; comorbidities, such as diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome; and obstetric factors, such as multiple deliveries, home delivery, first vaginal delivery, and forceps delivery. In the initial clinical evaluation of FI, the factors responsible for individual symptoms are gathered from the history and examination of the anorectal region. The evaluation is the basis of all medical treatments for FI, including initial treatment, and also serves as a baseline for deciding the need for a specialized defecation function test and selecting treatment in stages. Following the general physical examination, together with history taking, inspection (including anoscope), and palpation (including digital anorectal and vaginal examination) of the anorectal area, clinicians can focus on the causes of FI. For the clinical evaluation of FI, it is useful to use Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), such as scores and questionnaires, to evaluate the symptomatic severity of FI and its influence over quality of life (QoL).
Examination for fecal incontinence is performed in order to evaluate the condition of each patient. As there is no single method that perfectly assesses this condition, there are several tests that need to be conducted. These are as follows: anal manometry, recto anal sensitivity test, pudendal nerve terminal motor latency, electromyogram, anal endosonography, pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and defecography. In addition, the mental and physical stress most patients experience during all these examinations needs to be taken into consideration. Although some of these examinations mostly apply for patients with constipation, we hereby describe these tests as tools for the assessment of fecal incontinence.
Conservative therapies for fecal incontinence include diet, lifestyle, and bowel habit modification, pharmacotherapy, pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback therapy, anal insert device, trans anal irrigation, and so on. These interventions have been identified to improve the symptoms of fecal incontinence by determining the mechanisms resulting in firmer stool consistency; strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, including the external anal sphincter; normalizing the rectal sensation; or periodic emptying of the colon and rectum.
Among these interventions, diet, lifestyle, and bowel habit modifications and pharmacotherapy can be performed with some degree of knowledge and experience. These two therapies, therefore, can be conducted by all physicians, including general practitioners and other physicians not specializing in fecal incontinence. However, patients with fecal incontinence who did not improve following these initial therapies should be referred to specialized institutions. Contrary to the initial therapies, specialized therapies, including pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback therapy, anal insert device, and trans anal irrigation, should be conducted in specialized institutions as these require patient education and instructions based on expert knowledge and experience.
In general, conservative therapies should be performed for fecal incontinence before surgery because its pathophysiologies are mostly attributed to benign conditions. All Japanese healthcare professionals who take care of patients with fecal incontinence are expected to understand the characteristics of each conservative therapy, so that appropriate therapies will be selected and performed. Therefore, in this chapter, the characteristics of each conservative therapy for fecal incontinence are described.
In Japan, the surgical treatment for fecal incontinence (FI) can be performed using minimally invasive surgery, such as anal sphincteroplasty and sacral neuromodulation (SNM), as well as antegrade continence enema (ACE), graciloplasty, and stoma construction. In addition, currently, several other procedures, including biomaterial injection therapy, artificial bowel sphincter (ABS), and magnetic anal sphincter (MAS), are unavailable in Japan but are performed in Western countries. The evidence level of surgical treatment for FI is generally low, except for novel procedures, such as SNM, which was covered by health insurance in Japan since 2014. Although the surgical treatment algorithm for FI has been chronologically modified, it should be sequentially selected, starting from the most minimally invasive procedure, as FI is a benign condition.
Injuries to the neural system or spinal cord often cause disorders of the sensory and motor nerves that innervate the anus, rectum, and pelvic floor, leading to the difficulty in controlling bowel movement or FI and/or constipation. FI and constipation are closely associated; when one improves, the other tends to deteriorate.
Patients with severe cognitive impairment may present with active soiling, referred to as "incontinence" episodes that occur as a consequence of abnormal behavior, and may also experience passive soiling.
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) has been widely used as a tumor marker for detecting hepatocellular carcinoma and yolk sac tumors. Recently, cases of gastrointestinal cancer with elevated serum AFP levels have been reported. However, AFP-producing colon cancer is considered rarer than other AFP-producing gastrointestinal cancers. In this study, we report on a case of a 47-year-old woman who was diagnosed with sigmoid colon cancer and underwent sigmoidectomy and lymph node dissection. Postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) was performed after the curative surgery. After the seventh course of AC, multiple liver masses and enlarged systemic lymph nodes were detected; these were later diagnosed as liver metastases from sigmoid colon cancer. Laboratory examination revealed high AFP levels (14,657.8 ng/mL). After confirming the recurrence, her condition worsened rapidly, and she eventually died 8 months after the operation. Autopsy and histopathological findings showed that the liver mass was positive for AFP staining, but the sigmoid colon cancer tissue was not. We then determined that liver metastases of the colon cancer were more likely than germ cell carcinoma according to the clinical course and pathological findings. We assumed that colon cancer cells can rapidly expand by dedifferentiation, and we diagnosed AFP-producing colon cancer with liver metastases. Despite curative surgery and AC for AFP-producing colon cancer, the patient died of liver and systemic lymph node metastases.
Here, we describe the modified delta-shaped anastomosis (DSA) via the overlap method and how it was a beneficial intracorporeal anastomotic technique for four patients who underwent laparoscopic colectomy. After resecting the colon on both sides of the lesion, proximal and distal colon were laid in an overlap fashion and fixed using sutures. The entry hole was created using an ultrasound scalpel at a point 3 cm proximal to right colic stump and 7 cm distal to left colic stump on the anti-mesenteric side. Then, two arms of the linear stapler were inserted inside each lumen and fired. Finally, using the linear stapler, the common entry hole was closed in a delta-shaped manner. The mean duration of surgery was determined to be 218.4 (196-369) minutes, and amount of blood loss was measured to be 11 (5-25) mL. No intraoperative and postoperative complications were observed. Median postoperative hospital stay was 12 days. Thus, modified DSA via overlap method can be considered as a safe and simple IA technique.