Requiem for Nigro or is anal squamous carcinoma still a surgical problem: Abdominoperineal excision rather than a defunctioning stoma?

  • JC Kloppers
  • B Robertson
  • PA Goldberg
  • EDT Coetzee
Keywords: Anal squamous carcinoma, defunctioning stoma, Nigro protocol, abdominoperineal excision


Background: Combined multimodal treatment (CMT) is the preferred treatment for anal squamous carcinoma with radical surgery reserved for treatment failure. Some patients require a defunctioning stoma prior to CMT. Successful closure of such a stoma is unlikely. Abdominoperineal excision (APE) may be suitable as primary treatment in these patients.
Objectives: To evaluate organ preservation in the treatment of anal squamous cancer and the closure rate of pre-treatment, temporary diverting colostomy, thereby assessing whether APE could be offered as primary treatment in those requiring a pre-treatment colostomy.
Methods: A retrospective review of all patients with anal squamous carcinoma was undertaken. Patients who required defunctioning colostomies prior to CMT were analysed for potential resectability of tumour prior to CMT and rate of permanent stoma.
Results: One hundred and twenty-five patients were included of which 58 were males. The mean age was 56 years. 107 were treated with curative intent. Six received primary APE and 12 salvage APE. Thirty (22 males) required pretreatment diverting colostomies. Three (10%) stomas were successfully reversed. Forty-eight (38%) of the 125 completed treatment with a permanent colostomy. Six patients who needed a stoma prior to CMT were deemed resectable.
Conclusion: Organ preservation was not possible in about a third of patients. Defunctioning stomas prior to CMT were likely to be permanent. We propose that APE could be considered as an alternative in selective cases where the tumour is resectable with low morbidity and a stoma is indicated.

Key words: Anal squamous carcinoma, defunctioning stoma, Nigro protocol, abdominoperineal excision


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-5151
print ISSN: 0038-2361