The risk of a cancer recurrence has been correlated with the stage of the primary tumour at the time of presentation.
However, once a recurrence has developed, the primary tumor stage may not be the determining prognostic factor anymore.
Dr Andreas Kaiser and colleagues from California evaluated the association between the recurrence interval and the outcome of the recurrence.
|82% recurred within 3 years after surgery|
In addition, the researchers determined whether that interval was affected by the use of adjuvant radiation and/or chemotherapy.
The team conducted a retrospective analysis of 212 patients who developed recurrent colorectal cancer from 1987 to 1993.
Primary parameters such as age, gender, primary tumor site and stage, and use of postoperative adjuvant treatment were assessed.
The team correlated these parameters with the recurrence interval, the type and site of the recurrence, and the outcome.
Uni- and multivariate analysis was used to compare the recurrence interval and survival between different subgroups as defined by risk factors.
The researchers found that the mean time between the primary and the recurrent tumour was 25 months.
The team noted that 82% recurred within 3 years after surgery.
The recurrence interval was inversely correlated with the initial tumor stage.
The researchers observed that poor survival was associated with a short recurrence interval, and a distant recurrence site.
Even after adjusting for the initial tumor stage, the use of adjuvant treatment did not delay the onset of recurrent cancer.
Dr Kaiser's team concludes, “The recurrence interval of colorectal cancer is a prognostic factor.”
“However, the use of adjuvant therapy did not prolong that interval.”