Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objectives: To describe patterns of recurrence and postrecurrence survival in a large cohort of accurately staged patients with Dukes' A-C colorectal cancer. Background: Recurrence remains a frequent cause of mortality after the treatment of colorectal cancer with curative intent. Understanding the likelihood and site of recurrence informs adjuvant treatment and follow-up. Methods: Retrospective cohort analysis of data from the FACS (follow-up after colorectal cancer surgery) trial after a median 4.4 years of follow-up; postrecurrence survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Complete data were available for 94% of patients; 189 (17%) patients had experienced recurrence. Incidence of recurrence varied according to the site of the primary (right colon: 51/379, 14%; left colon: 68/421, 16%; rectum: 70/332, 21%; P = 0.023) and initial stage (Dukes' A: 26/249, 10%; Dukes' B: 81/537, 15%; Dukes' C: 82/346, 24%; P < 0.0001). Pulmonary recurrence was most frequently associated with rectal tumors, and multisite/other recurrence with right-sided colonic tumors. Recurrences from lowerstage tumors were more likely to be treatable with curative intent (Dukes' A: 13/26, 50%; Dukes' B: 32/81, 40%; Dukes' C: 20/82, 24%; P = 0.03). Those with rectal tumors benefited most from follow-up (proportion with treatable recurrence: rectum 30/332, 9%; left colon 23/421, 6%; right colon 12/379, 3%; P = 0.003). Both initial stage (log rank P = 0.005) and site of primary (log rank P = 0.01) influenced postrecurrence survival. Conclusions: The likelihood and site of recurrence, and survival, are influenced by the site and stage of the primary tumor. Those with rectal cancers benefited most from follow-up. ISRCTN 41458548.

Original publication




Journal article


Annals of surgery

Publication Date





1143 - 1147