Background: Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA) is highly sensitive to chemoradiation (CRT) which achieves good loco-regional control and preserves anal function. However, some patients require permanent stoma formation either as a result of surgery on relapse, poor anal function or treatment-related symptoms. Our aim was to determine patient, tumour and treatment-related colostomy rates following CRT and maintenance chemotherapy in the ACT II trial. Patients and methods: The ACT II trial recruited 940 patients comparing 5FU-based CRT using cisplatin (CisP) or mitomycin C (MMC) with or without additional maintenance chemotherapy. We investigated the association between colostomy-free survival (CFS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with age, gender, T-stage, N-stage, treatment and baseline haemoglobin. Results: The median follow-up was 5.1 years (n = 884 evaluable/940); tumour site canal (84%), margin (14%); stage T1/T2 (52%), T3/T4 (46%); N+ (32%), N0 (62%). Twenty out of 118 (17%) colostomies fashioned before CRT were reversed within 8 months. One hundred and twelve patients had a post-treatment colostomy due to persistent disease (98) or morbidity (14). Fifty-two per cent (61/118) of all pre-treatment colostomies were never reversed. The 5-year CFS rates were 68% MMC/Maint, 70% CisP/Maint, 68% MMC/No-maint and 65% CisP/No-maint. CRT with CisP did not improve CFS when compared with MMC (hazard ratio: 1.04, 95% confidence interval: 0.82-1.31, P = 0.74). The 5-year CFS rates were higher for T1/T2 (79%) than T3/T4 (54%) tumours and higher for node-negative (72%) than node-positive (60%) patients. Significant predictors of CFS were gender, T-stage and haemoglobin, while treatment factors had no impact on outcome. Similar associations were found between PFS and tumour/treatment-related factors. Conclusions: The majority (52%) of pre-treatment colostomies were never reversed. Neither CRT with 5FU/CisP nor maintenance chemotherapy impacted on CFS. The low risk of colostomy for late effects (1.7%) is likely to be associated with the modest total radiotherapy dose. The predictive factors for CFS were T-stage, gender and baseline haemoglobin.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The financial support of Cancer Research UK (grant reference number C444/A628) is gratefully acknowledged.
- Anal cancer
- Colostomy-free survival
- Loco-regional control
- Risk factors
- Squamous cell carcinoma