• Postirradiation "fixed" anorectal tumors are often considered incurable. Since 1980, we have carried out 12 pelvic and seven sacropelvic exenterations for this problem (adenocarcinoma, 18; squamous cancer, one). Nine tumors were primary; ten were recurrent (five after an anterior resection and five after an abdominoperineal resection). Prior irradiation ranged from 3000 to 12000 rad (30 to 120 Gy). Four patients had synchronous distant metastases; three died of disease (one with local recurrence), and the fourth patient has been living with disease (distant metastasis). Fifteen patients (four with B2 tumors and 11 with Astler-Coller C2 disease) had no extrapelvic disease. One patient died of postoperative complications; two others died free of disease. Three of the 15 patients died of disease (all with local recurrence), and one has been living with disease (local recurrence). Eight (53%) of 15 patients have been living free of disease 12+ to 53+ months. The results suggest that many patients with fixed postirradiation anorectal tumors may be salvaged by aggressive surgery.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:537-541)