Surgical Science, 2011, 2, 151-154
doi:10.4236/ss.2011.23032 Published Online May 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Self-Expanding Metal Stenting for Malignant Colonic
Tumours: A Prospective Study
Wissam Al-Jundi, Sameer Kadam, Ioakim Giagtzidis, Feras Ashouri, Kunal Chandarana,
Mark Downes, Amjad Khushal
Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Received February 7, 2011; revised April 12, 2011; accepted April 21, 2011
Background: self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) have been used in the management of malignant colorectal
obstruction for palliation or as a bridging tool to single-stage surgery. We present the clinical results of a se-
ries of patients with colonic cancer in whom SEMS were inserted endoscopically under radiological guid-
ance. Methods: between September 2007 and January 2010, prospectively collected data from 21 patients
who underwent SEMS insertion was analysed. This data includes demographics, indication for stenting, stent
size, technical success, clinical success, complications, survival and duration of hospitalisation. Results: 14
male and 7 female patients with malignant colonic obstruction underwent SEMS insertion: 19 requiring pal-
liation and 2 bridging to surgery. The rate of technical success was 100% and of initial clinical success was
100%. In 16/19 (84.2%) of the palliation group, clinical success was maintained at mean follow up of 3.4
months (1 - 6 months), while 3/19 (15.8%) died, two with functioning stents and one with stent occlusion.
The two patients with operable tumours were successfully bridged to one-stage elective surgery at 1 month
and 4 months following stenting. Post-procedure complications occurred in 5 patients: 1 perforation, 2 pain,
1 migration and 1 stent occlusion. All patients were discharged alive and the median hospital stay was 1 day
(range: 1 to 13 days). Conclusion: SEMS provides an effective and safe option in the palliation of malignant
colorectal obstruction. In operable patients, it provides a useful option to avoid colostomy, by facilitating
safer single-stage surgery. In this prospective study of SEMS insertion, high rates of technical and initial
clinical success were achieved. This could be attributed to performing the procedure under combined endo-
scopic and radiological guidance.
Keywords: Self-Expanding Metal Stent; Stent; Colon/Colonic Obstruction
1. Introduction
Primary or recurrent adenocarcinoma, pelvic malignan-
cies, and metastatic diseases can lead to the development
of malignant colorectal strictures. Up to 85% of acute
colonic obstructions are due to malignancy and between
8% and 28% of patients with colonic cancer present with
obstructive symptoms [1]. Traditional management of
symptomatic malignant colorectal obstruction involves
emergency colostomy. However, patients with acute or
chronic large bowel obstruction are usually high-risk
surgical candidates due to poor general health. The di-
lated bowel wall proximal to the obstruction is often fri-
able, which complicates emergency surgical interven-
tions [2].
In 1991, Dohmoto [3] reported the first use of self-
expanding metallic stents (SEMSs) for palliation of
colorectal cancer. Since then, a growing number of re-
ports and reviews have demonstrated the effectiveness
of SEMSs for palliation in patients with advanced non-
resectable carcinoma and as a bridge to surgery in those
patients with resectable disease [4-7].
This is a report of our experience with one type of
SEMS for palliation of 19 inoperable patients and
bridging of 2 operable patients with colorectal cancer.
2. Methods
This prospective study was conducted at a single centre
between September 2007 and January 2010. A total of
21 patients (mean age 72 years; range 32 - 93; 14 men)
with left sided (descending colon, sigmoid or rectum)
cancer were treated by endoscopic insertion of SEMSs
under radiological guidance in a prospective series.
Treatment recommendations were made by a colorectal
surgery/interventional radiology/oncology multidiscipli-
nary team. Inclusion criteria were the presence of pri-
mary or recurrent malignant left-sided colon cancer with
obstructive symptoms (abdominal pain and distension,
passage of small-calibre stools, or constipation that re-
quired stool softeners) confirmed by abdominal radio-
graphs or computed tomography (CT) scan. No patient
had complete bowel obstruction.
Exclusion criteria were perforation, peritonitis, or
other serious complications demanding urgent surgery
and the presence of rectal stenosis less than 5 cm from
the anal sphincter. All patients had symptoms related to
the stenosis, including abdominal pain and distension,
tenesmus, passage of small-calibre stools, or constipation
that required stool softeners.
Lesions were located in the rectum in 3 patients, in the
rectosigmoid junction/sigmoid colon in 12 patients and
in the descending colon in 5 patients. In 1 patient the
stenosis was caused by an anastomotic recurrence after
sigmoid colectomy.
Each patient gave written informed consent for the
treatment. Phosphate enemas were administered in the
morning of the procedure. Stenting procedures were per-
formed by a colorectal surgeon (AK) and an interven-
tional radiologist (MD). Self-expanding metal stents
(Niti-S Enteral Colonic Stent, Taewoong Medical Co.,
Ltd, Korea) were inserted endoscopically across the le-
sions under fluoroscopic control. The stricture was trav-
ersed with the endoscope, which was inserted into the
left colon or more proximally. A stainless steel guidewire
with a spring tip was inserted thro ugh the co lono scope as
far as possible into the left colon. The length of the le-
sion was measured during withdrawal of the endoscope.
The appropriately sized stent was loaded onto the distal
tip of the introducer and the pusher was inserted through
the introducer until it reached the stent. The introducer,
which contained the stent and the pusher, was passed
over the guidewire beside the endoscope and through the
stenotic segment. After proper positioning, the introdu cer
was withdrawn keeping the pusher firmly against the
stent, thereby allowing the prosthesis to expand.
The whole procedure was performed without p remedi-
cation in less than 30 minutes. Treatment success was
considered the restoration of asymptomatic defecation
with the disappearance of obstructive symptoms. Seven-
teen patients (81%) were discharged on the same day
with laxatives, wh ile 4 patients (19%) remained in hosp i-
tal for longer duration due to other medical or social rea-
Post stenting assessments were performed in specialist
clinics where treatment success was determined by ask-
ing patients at each follow-up visit about stool number,
abdominal pain and distension, the need for laxatives,
and the presence of diarrhoea, or constipation. All com-
plications and deaths were recorded up to 6 months fol-
lowing stenting. Patients missing or , “lost to follow up”,
were traced and contacted by telephone. Deaths were
confirmed from medical records, or death certificates
were obtained from the General Register Office (www.gro.
3. Results
Twenty-one consecutive patients were included in this
study. Indications for stenting and stents’ characteristics
are summarized in Table 1. SEMSs were placed with
palliative intent in 19 patien ts and as a bridge to surgery
in 2 (Table 1).
Two SEMSs were placed in 4 patients, because of
long strictures/malpositioning of first stent. Metal stents
were placed correctly in all patients achieving a techni-
cal success rate of 100%. No patient underwent balloon
dilatation, either before or after stent placement. All
patients tolerated the procedure well and no complica-
tion was obser ve d with in 24 hours of stent placem ent.
Table 1. Characteristics of the colonic stents used in the
Parameter No. Pa-
tients %
Palliation 19 91
Indication for stent
placement Bridge to surgery 2 9
1 17 81
No. Stents placed per
patient 2 4 19
80 3 14.3
120 14 66.6
Two 120 2 9.5
120 and 60 1 4.8
Stent length (mm)
120 and 80 1 4.8
20 3 14.3
24 12 57.1
28 2 9.5
Two 24 3 14.3
Stent diameter (mm)
Two 28 1 4.8
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Table 2. Post-procedural complications.
Complication Type No. Patients %
Perforation 1 4.8
Stent Occlusion 1 4.8
Stent Migration 1 4.8
Pain 2 9.5
Rectal Bleeding 0 0
Tenesmus 0 0
The patients were followed for a median of 3.5 months
(range 1-6 months).
During follow-up after SEMS placement for palliative
treatment, complications resulted in 1 clinical failure
(4.8%) (Table 2). A 32-year-old woman with metastatic
adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon was readmitted
with complete intestinal obstruction due to stent occlu-
sion 2 weeks following stenting and died soon after ad-
mission. One patient, an 82-year-old man developed de-
layed perforation. This was concealed perforation at the
stent site that was treated conservatively and the patient
had no further complicati ons.
Late distal migration of the stent was observed in 1
case two months after insertion. Overall the incidence of
complications was 23.8% (5/21), with one mortality
(4.8%) following stent occl usion.
The remaining patients (76.2%) did not experience
pain, tenesmus, or bleeding during follow-up. All had
restoration of asymptomatic defecation and relief of ab-
dominal discomfort. Most used stool softeners.
The two patients with operab le tumours survived until
elective one stage surgery at 1 month and 4 months fol-
lowing stenting. In the palliative group, clinical success
was maintained in 15/19 patients (84.2%) at mean follow
up of 3.4 months (1 - 6 months), while 3/19 (15.8%) died,
two with functioning stents. Thus, for those patients,
stent placement had fulfilled its palliative purpose over
their entire remaining life span.
4. Discussion
In the UK, approximately 34,000 patients are diagnosed
with colorectal cancer each year [8]. Colonic obstruction
is almost exclusively associated with tumours in the
recto-sigmoid region, and acute colonic obstruction has a
high mortality (17%) and morbidity (39%) [8]. There is
no eviden ce that palliative resections prolong survival [9],
while the presence of a colostomy decreases the quality
of life [10]. For palliative treatment, it has been sug-
gested that SEMS provide a solution that combines good
results with short hospital stay, good tolerance and ac-
ceptance by the patients [4-7]. In patients who are suit-
able for curative surgery, colonic stenting creates an op-
portunity for resuscitation, correction of electrolytes
imbalance, optimising bowel preparation, improving the
nutritional status and planning for definitive elective
resection at a later date [11].
Colonic stenting, like any clinical intervention, is not
devoid of complications. However in our study we had
100% technical success in placement of stents in addi-
tion to low complication rates. The most serious com-
plication of this procedure is perforation of the colon. In
our study only one patient suffered with delayed perfo-
ration, which was treated conservatively and did not
affect the outcome of his stenting. One explanation for
the low number of post-procedural perforation is the
avoidance of balloon dilation of the stents during their
placement. The technique that was used and the col-
laboration of a colorectal su rgeon with an interven tional
radiologist can also explain the good technical success
across this cohort. As stenting devices and our skills
develop, endoscopic capabilities will continue to ex-
pand to involve more complicated cases and patients
with more advanced disease.
Our study was not without limitations. There was no
comparative group i.e. emergency surgery group, to
assess the effectiveness of stenting against surgery. In
addition, there was lack of randomisation and the num-
ber of patients involved was small, therefore, it is not
possible to assure the validity of the results. Involve-
ment of a larger number of patients could have defined
the technical and clinical success rates more accurately
and could have potentially identified more post-
procedural complications. Finally, there were no pa-
tients with transverse or ascending colon tumours and
the follow up was limited to a maximum of 6 months.
Despite the fact that 70% of bowel obstructions occur in
the left and sigmoid colon [7], future studies should also
investigate the use of colonic stents for more proximal
obstructing colonic tumours.
A systematic review by Sebastian et al. of 54 uncon-
trolled trials and case reports on placement of self-
expandable metal stents revealed a technical success
rate of 90% - 100%, a clinical success rate of 84% -
94% and clinical success when used as bridge to sur-
gery of 71.7%. Major complications related to stent
placement included perforation (4%), stent migration
(11.8%) and re-obstruction (7.3%), causing a cumula-
tive mortality of 0.58% [7]. A more recent review by
Watt et al. found median complication rates of stent
migration 11%, perforation 4.5%, and tumour over-
growth 12% [12]. Nevertheless insertion of SEMS for
acute malignant colonic obstruction was associated with
lower mortality rates, a lower mean number of opera-
tions per patient, and a reduction in the number of per-
manent and temporary stomas required compared with
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
either emergency resective surgery or emergency divert-
ing colostomy. Though the cost associated with colonic
stenting is higher than the cost of performing a diverting
colostomy for the initial management of acute, malignant
colonic obstruction, the incremental cost associated with
providing one additional improved patient outcome is
very reasonable [13].
Summarizing, the use of SEMS for palliation of ma-
lignant colorectal tumour is a safe and effective proce-
dure. As a bridge to a single stage surgery it appears a
promising method with good outcome, but no random-
ized controlled trial between stenting and primary sur-
gery has been carried out to date to provide the necessary
clinical proof [14]. A Cochrane review in 2002 con-
cluded that the limited number of randomised control
trials into the management of obstructing left-sid ed colo-
rectal carcinoma together with methodological weak-
nesses does not allow reliable assessment of the best
treatment strategy [15]. There is a clear need for further
large randomised studies.
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