Background We investigated whether preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion (PBT) are associated with overall survival and recurrence-free survival in patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer. Methods From 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2014, 1003 patients with primary colorectal cancer were enrolled in the study. Perioperative clinical and oncologic outcomes were analyzed based on the presence of preoperative anemia and PBT. Results Preoperative anemia was found in 468 patients (46.7%). In the anemia and no-anemia groups, PBT was performed in 44% and 15% of patients respectively. Independent predictors for PBT were preoperative anemia, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists score, laparotomy, lengthy operative time, advanced TNM stage, T4 stage, and 30-day morbidity. The use of PBT, but not preoperative anemia, was found to be an independent adverse prognostic factor for overall survival. In terms of recurrence-free survival, the presence of preoperative anemia was similarly not a significant prognostic factor, but the use of PBT was an independent factor for an unfavourable prognosis. Conclusions The use of PBT, but not preoperative anemia, was independently associated with worse overall and recurrence-free survival in nonmetastatic colorectal cancer. For better oncologic outcomes, our findings indicate a need to reduce the use of blood transfusion during the perioperative period.
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