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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Long-Term Survival in Octogenarians After Surgical Treatment for Colorectal Cancer: Prevention of Postoperative Complications is Key

Linda B. M. Weerink MD, Christina M. Gant MD, Barbara L. van Leeuwen MD, PhD, Geertruida H. de Bock PhD, Ewout A. Kouwenhoven MD, PhD, Ian F. Faneyte MD, PhD
Colorectal Cancer
Volume 25, Issue 13 / December , 2018



Whether to treat octogenarians with colorectal cancer (CRC) in the same manner as younger patients remains a challenging issue. The purpose of this study was to analyse postoperative complications and long-term survival in a consecutive cohort of octogenarians who were surgically treated for CRC.


Octogenarians with primary CRC suitable for curative surgery between January 2008 and December 2011 were included. Data about comorbidities, tumour stage, and complications were retrospectively collected from patient files. Data about survival were retrieved with use of the Dutch database for persons and addresses. To identify factors associated with severe postoperative complications and postoperative survival, logistic regression analyses, and Cox regression analyses were performed. Odds ratios and hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated.


In a series of 108 octogenarians, median age was 83 years (range 80–94 years). Median follow-up was 47 (range 1–107) months. Major postoperative complications occurred in 25% of the patients. No risk factors for development of severe postoperative complications could be identified. The 30-day mortality was 7%; 1- and 5-year mortality was 19% and 56%, respectively. Overall median survival was 48 months: 66 months in patients without complications versus 13 months in patients with postoperative complications. Postoperative complications were most predictive of decreased survival (HR 3.16; 95% CI 1.79–5.59), even including tumour characteristics, comorbidity, and emergency surgery.


Long-term survival in octogenarians deemed fit for surgery is reasonably good. Prevention of major postoperative complications could further improve clinical outcome.

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