Does surgical sub-specialization influence survival in patients with colorectal cancer

Cameron Platell, D. Lim, N. Tajudeen, J.L. Tan, K. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To perform a review of patients with colorectal cancer to a community hospital and to compare the risk-adjusted survival between patients managed in general surgical units versus a colorectal unit.METHODS: The study evaluated all patients with colorectal cancer referred to either general surgical units or a colorectal unit from 1/1996 to 6/2001. These results were compared to a historical control group treated within general surgical units at the same hospital from 1/1989 to 12/1994. A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis compared the overall survivals (all-cause mortality) between the groups. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the influence of a number of independent variables on survival. These variables included age, ASA score, disease stage, emergency surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, disease location, and surgical unit.RESULTS: There were 974 patients involved in this study. There were no significant differences in the demographic details for the three groups. Patients in the colorectal group were more likely to have rectal cancer and Stage I cancers, and less likely to have Stage II cancers. Patients treated in the colorectal group had a significantly higher overall 5-year survival when compared with the general surgical group and the historical control group (56 % versus 45 % and 40 % respectively, P<0.01). Survival regression analysis identified age, ASA score, disease stage, adjuvant chemotherapy, and treatment in a colorectal unit (Hazards ratio: 0.67; 95 % CI: 0.53 to 0.84, P=0.0005), as significant independent predictors of survival.CONCLUSION: The results suggest that there may be a survival advantage for patients with colon and rectal cancers being treated within a specialist colorectal surgical unit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-964
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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