BACKGROUND: Anastomotic leakage (AL) after rectosigmoid resection is a serious complication associated with high morbidity and mortality. This case-control pilot study investigated the changes in blood concentration of 10 different cytokines and 2 complement factors in relation to symptomatic AL after low anterior resection for rectosigmoid cancer.
METHODS: Fifty patients scheduled for resection of rectosigmoid cancer had blood samples taken the day before surgery and on post-operative days 1, 3 and 5. Four patients with symptomatic AL were identified. Twenty-two age- and disease-matched patients constituted the control group. The concentration of 10 cytokines (granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interferon-γ, interleukin-1β, interleukin-2, interleukin-4, interleukin-5, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interleukin-10 and tumour necrosis factor-α) and 2 complement factors (mannan-binding lectin and membrane attack complex) were measured.
RESULTS: The present study demonstrated that plasma concentration of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, interleukin-8 and interleukin 10 within the first 5 post-operative days was increased in patients who developed early clinical AL, whereas there were no changes in patients with late-onset AL.
CONCLUSIONS: The demonstrated differences in the cytokine response in early and late AL may support the theory of different pathological mechanisms of AL.