Robotic surgery for rectal cancer produces similar results to keyhole surgery

NIHR Signal | December 2019 |Robotic surgery for rectal cancer produces similar results to keyhole surgery

Robotic rectal cancer surgery does not appear technically easier than standard keyhole surgery. The researchers, in this trial, judged this by measuring the need to ‘convert’ a keyhole procedure to open surgery when operating. This NIHR-funded trial also found that robotic surgery produced similar clinical results to standard laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery in treating rectal cancer.

In the trial, 28 out of 230 patients (12%) who received keyhole surgery were converted to open surgery, compared with 19 out of 236 (8%) who received robotic surgery. This difference did not achieve statistical significance. There were also no differences in the likelihood of removing the whole tumour, surgery-related complications and bladder or sexual function. Longer-term outcomes such as three-year recurrence and overall survival were also similar.

These results suggest robotic rectal surgery, which costs £1,000 more than laparoscopic surgery due to ongoing equipment costs and longer operating time, may not be cost-effective (Source: NIHR).

The full details of the trial are available from the NIHR 

Full reference:

Jayne, D. | 2019| Robotic-assisted Surgery Compared With Laparoscopic Resection Surgery for Rectal Cancer: The ROLARR RCT | Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation | DOI: 10.3310/eme06100

Abstract

Background

Robotic rectal cancer surgery is gaining popularity, but there are limited data about its safety and efficacy. Objective To undertake an evaluation of robotic compared with laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery to determine its safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness.

Design

This was a multicentre, randomised trial comparing robotic with laparoscopic rectal resection in patients with rectal adenocarcinoma.

Setting

The study was conducted at 26 sites across 10 countries and involved 40 surgeons. Participants The study involved 471 patients with rectal adenocarcinoma. Recruitment took place from 7 January 2011 to 30 September 2014 with final follow-up on 16 June 2015. Interventions Robotic and laparoscopic rectal cancer resections were performed by high anterior resection, low anterior resection or abdominoperineal resection. There were 237 patients randomised to robotic and 234 to laparoscopic surgery. Follow-up was at 30 days, at 6 months and annually until 3 years after surgery.

Main outcome measures The primary outcome was conversion to laparotomy. Secondary end points included intra- and postoperative complications, pathological outcomes, quality of life (QoL) [measured using the Short Form questionnaire-36 items version 2 (SF-36v2) and the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory-20 (MFI-20)], bladder and sexual dysfunction [measured using the International Prostatic Symptom Score (I-PSS), the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)], and oncological outcomes. An economic evaluation considered the costs of robotic and laparoscopic surgery, including primary and secondary care costs up to 6 months post operation.

Results Among 471 randomised patients [mean age 64.9 years, standard deviation (SD) 11.0 years; 320 (67.9%) men], 466 (98.9%) patients completed the study. Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. The overall rate of conversion to laparotomy was 10.1% and occurred in 19 (8.1%) patients in the robotic-assisted group and in 28 (12.2%) patients in the conventional laparoscopic group. Of the nine prespecified secondary end points, including circumferential resection margin positivity, intraoperative complications, postoperative complications, plane of surgery, 30-day mortality and bladder and sexual dysfunction, none showed a statistically significant difference between the groups. No difference between the treatment groups was observed for longer-term outcomes, disease-free and overall survival (OS). Males were at a greater risk of local recurrence than females and had worse OS rates. The costs of robotic and laparoscopic surgery, excluding capital costs, were £11,853 (SD £2940) and £10,874 (SD £2676) respectively.

Conclusions

There is insufficient evidence to conclude that robotic rectal surgery compared with laparoscopic rectal surgery reduces the risk of conversion to laparotomy. There were no statistically significant differences in resection margin positivity, complication rates or QoL at 6 months between the treatment groups. Robotic rectal cancer surgery was on average £980 more expensive than laparoscopic surgery, even when the acquisition and maintenance costs for the robot were excluded. Future work The lower rate of conversion to laparotomy in males undergoing robotic rectal cancer surgery deserves further investigation. The introduction of new robotic systems into the market may alter the cost-effectiveness of robotic rectal cancer surgery.

The full article is available from PubMed

New device accurately identifies cancer in seconds

Handheld device can identify cancerous tissue in 10 seconds, with 96% accuracy. | story via ScienceDaily

A team of scientists at The University of Texas has invented a handheld device that quickly and accurately identifies cancerous tissue during surgery, delivering results in about 10 seconds. The MasSpec Pen is a handheld instrument that gives surgeons precise diagnostic information about what tissue to cut or preserve, helping improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

In tests on tissues removed from 253 human cancer patients, the MasSpec Pen took about 10 seconds to provide a diagnosis and was more than 96 percent accurate. The technology was also able to detect cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancer tissues that presented mixed cellular composition. The team expects to start testing this new technology during oncologic surgeries in 2018.

Full story at ScienceDaily

See also: BBC News: ‘Pen’ identifies cancer in 10 seconds

Full reference: Zhang, J. et al. Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system  Science Translational Medicine 06 Sep 2017: Vol. 9, Issue 406

 

Prognosis following cancer surgery during holiday periods

This study aimed to test the new hypothesis that cancer surgery performed during holiday periods is associated with worse long-term prognosis than for non-holiday periods | International Journal of Cancer

This nationwide Swedish population-based cohort study included 228,927 patients during 1997-2014 who underwent elective resectional surgery for a cancer where the annual number of resections was over 100. The 16 eligible cancer sites were grouped into 10 cancer groups. The exposure, holiday periods, was classified as wide (14-weeks) or narrow (7-weeks). Surgery conducted inside versus outside holiday periods was compared regarding overall disease-specific (main outcome) and overall all-cause (secondary outcome) mortality.

Cox regression provided hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for age, sex, comorbidity, hospital volume, calendar period, and tumor stage. Surgery conducted during wide and narrow holiday periods were associated with increased HRs of disease-specific mortality for cancer of the breast (HR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.13 and HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01-1.12) and possibly of cancer of the liver-pancreas-bile ducts (HR 1.09, 95% CI 0.99-1.20 and HR 1.12, 95% CI 0.99-1.26).

Sub-groups with cancer of the colon-rectum, head-and-neck, prostate, kidney-urine bladder, and thyroid also experienced statistically significantly worse prognosis following surgery conducted during holiday periods. No influence of surgery during holiday was detected for cancer of the esophagus-stomach, lung, or ovary-uterus. All-cause HRs were similar to the disease-specific HRs. The prognosis following cancer surgery might not be fully maintained during holiday periods for all cancer sites.

Full reference: Lagergren, J. et al. (2017) Prognosis following cancer surgery during holiday periods. International Journal of Cancer. Published online: 21 July 2017

Preoperative conventional chemoradiotherapy versus short-course radiotherapy with delayed surgery for rectal cancer

Latkauskas, T. et al. BMC Cancer. Published: 1 December 2016

https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=1&_IXSR_=Mo87xcXUtuT&_IXSS_=_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26i_pre%3d%26IXTO%3d%26t%3d%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26i_num%3d%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26w%3d%26%2524%253ds%3drectal%2bcancer%26IXFROM%3d%26_IXSUBMIT_%3dSubmit%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26_IXrescount%3d5&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
Image source: Richard Kirsch and Raw’n’ Wild – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Background: There still is no evidence which neoadjuvant therapy regimen for stage II–III rectal cancer is superior. The aim of this study was to compare results achieved after long-course chemoradiotherapy (CRT) with short-term radiotherapy (RT) followed by delayed surgery.

 

Conclusion: Three-years disease-free survival was better in CRT group comparing with RT group with no difference in overall survival.

Read the full article here

Impact of laparoscopic versus open surgery on hospital costs for colon cancer

Laudicella, M. et al. (2016) BMJ Open. 6:e012977

L0028353 A gynaecological operation. Colour lithograph by Virginia Po
Image source: Virginia Po – Wellcome Library // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Objective: Laparoscopy is increasingly being used as an alternative to open surgery in the treatment of patients with colon cancer. The study objective is to estimate the difference in hospital costs between laparoscopic and open colon cancer surgery.

Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study.

Settings: All acute hospitals of the National Health System in England.

Population: A total of 55 358 patients aged 30 and over with a primary diagnosis of colon cancer admitted for planned (elective) open or laparoscopic major resection between April 2006 and March 2013.

Primary outcomes: Inpatient hospital costs during index admission and after 30 and 90 days following the index admission.

Results: Propensity score matching was used to create comparable exposed and control groups. The hospital cost of an index admission was estimated to be £1933 (95% CI 1834 to 2027; p<0.01) lower among patients who underwent laparoscopic resection. After including the first unplanned readmission following index admission, laparoscopy was £2107 (95% CI 2000 to 2215; p<0.01) less expensive at 30 days and £2202 (95% CI 2092 to 2316; p<0.01) less expensive at 90 days. The difference in cost was explained by shorter hospital stay and lower readmission rates in patients undergoing minimal access surgery. The use of laparoscopic colon cancer surgery increased 4-fold between 2006 and 2012 resulting in a total cost saving in excess of £29.3 million for the National Health Service (NHS).

Conclusions: Laparoscopy is associated with lower hospital costs than open surgery in elective patients with colon cancer suitable for both interventions.

Read the full article here

Race/ethnicity and socio-economic differences in colorectal cancer surgery outcomes

Akinyemiju, T. et al. BMC Cancer. Published online: 5 September 2016

N0009283 Cancer of the colon; adenocarcinoma
Image source: Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows photomicrograph of adenocarcinoma of the colon

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine racial and socio-economic differences in the receipt of laparoscopic or open surgery among patients with colorectal cancer, and to determine if racial and socio-economic differences exist in post-surgical complications, in-hospital mortality and hospital length of stay among patients who received surgery.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of hospitalized patients with a primary diagnosis of colorectal cancer between 2007 and 2011 using data from Nationwide Inpatient Sample. ICD-9 codes were used to capture primary diagnosis, surgical procedures, and health outcomes during hospitalization. We used logistic regression analysis to determine racial and socio-economic predictors of surgery type, post-surgical complications and mortality, and linear regression analysis to assess hospital length of stay.

Results: A total of 122,631 patients were admitted with a primary diagnosis of malignant colorectal cancer between 2007 and 2011. Of these, 17,327 (14.13 %) had laparoscopic surgery, 70,328 (57.35 %) received open surgery, while 34976 (28.52 %) did not receive any surgery. Black (36 %) and Hispanic (34 %) patients were more likely to receive no surgery compared with Whites (27 %) patients. However, among patients that received any surgery, there were no racial differences in which surgery was received (laparoscopic versus open, p = 0.2122), although socio-economic differences remained, with patients from lower residential income areas significantly less likely to receive laparoscopic surgery compared with patients from higher residential income areas (OR: 0.74, 95 % CI: 0.70-0.78). Among patients who received any surgery, Black patients (OR = 1.07, 95 % CI: 1.01-1.13), and patients with Medicare (OR = 1.16, 95 % CI: 1.11-1.22) and Medicaid (OR = 1.15, 95 % CI: 1.07-1.25) insurance experienced significantly higher post-surgical complications, in-hospital mortality (Black OR = 1.18, 95 % CI: 1.00-1.39), and longer hospital stay (Black β = 1.33, 95 % CI: 1.16-1.50) compared with White patients or patients with private insurance.

Conclusion: Racial and socio-economic differences were observed in the receipt of surgery and surgical outcomes among hospitalized patients with malignant colorectal cancer in the US.

Read the article here

Study shows patients require less painkilling medication after breast-cancer surgery if they have opiate-free anesthesia

ScienceDaily. Published online: 30 May 2016.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Image source: Fuse809 – Wikipedia // CC BY-SA 3.0

Image shows Remifentanil’s 3D molecular structure

In this study, painkiller requirements were examined after patients received opiate anaesthesia and non-opiate anaesthesia. A randomised controlled trial was conducted, containing two groups each containing 33 breast cancer patients undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy. The study took place between September 2014 and July 2015 at the Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels.

Perioperative non-opiate analgesia was obtained by combining clonidine (0.2 mcg/kg), ketamine (0.3 mg/kg) and lidocaine (1.5 mg/kg). An extra bolus of ketamine (0.2mg/kg) was given if necessary. Opiate analgesia was obtained via a combination of remifentanil infusion, ketamine (0.3 mg/kg) and lidocaine (1.5 mg/kg). Both groups received intravenous paracetamol (1000mg/6h) and intravenous diclofenac (75 mg/12h). Patients received a PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) pump for breakthrough pain during the first 24 hours post-operatively.

Clinical characteristics and post-operative piritramide painkiller consumption (through the patient controlled pump) were assessed during the first 24 hours post-operatively. Data were not complete for two patients in the non-opiate group, and thus a total of 64 patients were included in the study. The total mean piritramide usage 24 hours post-operatively was 8.1 mg (range 2.0-14.5) in the non-opiate group and 13.1 mg (range 6.0-16.0) in the opioid group. The difference observed was statistically significant.

Read the full commentary here

Environmental and social benefits of the targeted intraoperative radiotherapy for breast cancer

Coombs, N.J. et al. BMJ Open 2016. 6:e010703. 

car

Objective: To quantify the journeys and CO2 emissions if women with breast cancer are treated with risk-adapted single-dose targeted intraoperative radiotherapy (TARGIT) rather than several weeks’ course of external beam whole breast radiotherapy (EBRT) treatment.

Setting: (1) TARGIT-A randomised clinical trial (ISRCTN34086741) which compared TARGIT with traditional EBRT and found similar breast cancer control, particularly when TARGIT was given simultaneously with lumpectomy, (2) 2 additional UK centres offering TARGIT.

Participants: 485 UK patients (249 TARGIT, 236 EBRT) in the prepathology stratum of TARGIT-A trial (where randomisation occurred before lumpectomy and TARGIT was delivered simultaneously with lumpectomy) for whom geographical data were available and 22 patients treated with TARGIT after completion of the TARGIT-A trial in 2 additional UK breast centres.

Outcome measures: The shortest total journey distance, time and CO2 emissions from home to hospital to receive all the fractions of radiotherapy.

Methods: Distances, time and CO2 emissions were calculated using Google Maps and assuming a fuel efficiency of 40 mpg. The groups were compared using the Student t test with unequal variance and the non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test.

Results: TARGIT patients travelled significantly fewer miles: TARGIT 21 681, mean 87.1 (SE 19.1) versus EBRT 92 591, mean 392.3 (SE 30.2); had lower CO2 emissions 24.7 kg (SE 5.4) vs 111 kg (SE 8.6) and spent less time travelling: 3 h (SE 0.53) vs 14 h (SE 0.76), all p<0.0001. Patients treated with TARGIT in 2 hospitals in semirural locations were spared much longer journeys (753 miles, 30 h, 215 kg CO2 per patient).

Conclusions: The use of TARGIT intraoperative radiotherapy for eligible patients with breast cancer significantly reduces their journeys for treatment and has environmental benefits. If widely available, 5 million miles (8 000 000 km) of travel, 170 000 woman-hours and 1200 tonnes of CO2 (a forest of 100 hectares) will be saved annually in the UK.

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What surgeons tell patients and what patients want to know before major cancer surgery: a qualitative study

McNair, A.G.K. et al. BMC Cancer2016 16:258.

11551-2
Background: 
The information surgeons impart to patients and information patients want about surgery for cancer is important but rarely examined. This study explored information provided by surgeons and patient preferences for information in consultations in which surgery for oesophageal cancer surgery was discussed.

Methods: Pre-operation consultations in which oesophagectomy was discussed were studied in three United Kingdom hospitals and patients were subsequently interviewed. Consultations and interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed in full and anonymized. Interviews elicited views about the information provided by surgeons and patients’ preferences for information. Thematic analysis of consultation-interview pairs was used to investigate similarities and differences in the information provided by surgeons and desired by patients.

Results: Fifty two audio-recordings from 31 patients and 7 surgeons were obtained (25 consultations and 27 patient interviews). Six consultations were not recorded because of equipment failure and four patients declined an interview. Surgeons all provided consistent, extensive information on technical operative details and in-hospital surgical risks. Consultations rarely included discussion of the longer-term outcomes of surgery. Whilst patients accepted that information about surgery and risks was necessary, they really wanted details about long-term issues including recovery, impact on quality of life and survival.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated a need for surgeons to provide information of importance to patients concerning the longer term outcomes of surgery. It is proposed that “core information sets” are developed, based on surgeons’ and patients’ views, to use as a minimum in consultations to initiate discussion and meet information needs prior to cancer surgery.

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Urgent surgery after emergency presentation for colorectal cancer has no impact on overall and disease-free survival:

Weixler, B. et al. BMC Cancer. 2016 16:208

B0009747 Venous invasion of colorectal cancer, modified histology
Image source: Richard Kirsch & Raw ‘n’ Wild – Wellcome Images

Image shows histologic section of a surgically removed colon cancer (stage II adenocarcinoma) stained with Movat’s pentachrome stain and subsequently digitally enhanced.

Background: It remains a matter of debate whether colorectal cancer resection in an emergency setting negatively impacts on survival. Our objective was therefore to assess the impact of urgent versus elective operation on overall and disease-free survival in patients undergoing resection for colorectal cancer by using propensity score adjusted analysis.

Methods: In a single-center study patients operated for colorectal cancer between 1989 and 2013 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Median follow-up was 44 months. Patients with neoadjuvant treatment were excluded. The impact of urgent operation on overall and disease-free survival was assessed using both Cox regression and propensity score analyses.

Results: Of 747 patients with colorectal cancer, 84 (11 %) had urgent and 663 elective cancer resection. The propensity score revealed strongly biased patient characteristics (0.22 ± 0.16 vs. 0.10 ± 0.09; P < 0.001). In unadjusted analysis urgent operation was associated with a 35 % increased risk of overall mortality (hazard ratio(HR) of death = 1.35, 95 % confidence interval(CI):1.02–1.78, P = 0.045). In risk-adjusted Cox regression analysis urgent operation was not associated with poor overall (HR = 1.08, 95 %CI:0.79–1.48; P = 0.629) or disease-free survival (HR = 1.02, 95 %CI:0.76–1.38; P = 0.877). Similarly in propensity score analysis urgent operation did not influence overall (HR = 0.98, 95 % CI:0.74–1.29), P = 0.872) and disease-free survival (HR = 0.89, 95 %CI:0.68 to 1.16, P = 0.387).

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that worse oncologic outcomes after urgent operation for colorectal cancer are caused by clinical circumstances and not due to the urgent operation itself. Urgent operation is not a risk factor for colorectal cancer resection.

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