Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Surg. Jul 27, 2022; 14(7): 696-705
Published online Jul 27, 2022. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v14.i7.696
Skeletal muscle metastasis from colorectal adenocarcinoma: A literature review
Nikhil Kulkarni, Ahmed Khalil, Shruti Bodapati
Nikhil Kulkarni, Ahmed Khalil, Department of General and Colorectal Surgery, Lincoln County Hospital, Lincoln LN5 2QY, United Kingdom
Shruti Bodapati, Department of General Surgery, Plymouth University Hospitals, Plymouth PL6 8DH, United Kingdom
Author contributions: Kulkarni N conceptualized and designed the review; Khalil A and Bodapati S performed the initial literature review; all authors analysed the data; Kulkarni N and Khalil A wrote the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Nikhil Kulkarni, MS, MCh, FRCS, Consultant Surgeon, Department of General and Colorectal Surgery, Lincoln County Hospital, Greetwell Road, Lincoln LN5 2QY, United Kingdom.
Received: April 15, 2022
Peer-review started: April 15, 2022
First decision: May 12, 2022
Revised: May 26, 2022
Accepted: June 22, 2022
Article in press: June 22, 2022
Published online: July 27, 2022

Colorectal adenocarcinoma is the third most common cancer worldwide. It accounts for almost 10% of all cancer-related deaths. Skeletal muscle is a very unusual site for metastasis from colorectal cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis and high mortality.


To review the literature for cases of skeletal muscle metastasis (SMM) from colorectal adenocarcinoma.


A systematic literature search using a validated search strategy was carried out to identify the incidence of SMM associated with colorectal adenocarcinoma. The studies identified were tabulated in a PRISMA, and data was extracted in a tabulated form.


Twenty-nine studies were included in this literature review. SMM was most commonly detected in the thigh muscles. Most of the tumours had originated from the rectum or the right colon. The histopathology of the primary tumour was generally advanced. The mean time interval between the primary tumour and onset of SMM was 22 mo. In 3 cases, asymptomatic SMM had been picked up by advanced imaging systems, like fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scan.


SMM from colorectal adenocarcinomas is a rare complication. However, it is possible that the low incidence could be due to under-reporting. Early use of advanced imaging techniques and a high index of clinical suspicion might increase the reporting of SMM from colorectal adenocarcinoma.

Keywords: Skeletal muscle, Metastasis, Colorectal cancer, Adenocarcinoma, Systematic review

Core Tip: Skeletal muscle metastasis (SMM) from a colorectal adenocarcinoma is a rare complication. Presentation usually occurs at a late stage, and prognosis remains poor. However, with a high index of suspicion and early use of advanced investigative modalities, like fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scan, SMM can be detected and treated at an earlier stage. Further research is required to better understand the prognosis and pathophysiology of SMM.