Keyhole surgery for colorectal cancer offers same prognosis as conventional surgery

04/07/04

NB. Please note that if you are outside North America, the embargo for LANCET press material is 0001 hours UK Time 9 April 2004.

Laparoscopy ('keyhole surgery') for colorectal cancer could be the future treatment of choice after results of a study from Hong Kong in this week's issue of THE LANCET show how it is associated with a similar 5-year survival outcome and more favourable recovery time than conventional surgery.

Colorectal cancer is one of the commonest forms of cancer worldwide. Laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer was first introduced a decade ago, although its long-term benefits (5-year survival rates for patients) have not been previously assessed. Ka Lau Leung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues prospectively compared (over a 10-year period) the effects of laparoscopic and conventional surgery in a randomised trial of around 400 patients with colorectal cancer (in the upper rectum and sigmoid colon) treated at a hospital in Hong Kong.

5-year survival was similar for patients given either form of surgery (76% survival for laparoscopy, 73% for conventional surgery, with no statistical difference between the two values). The duration of laparoscopic surgery was significantly longer, whereas postoperative recovery time was substantially reduced compared with patients who received conventional surgery. However, laparoscopy was more costly than conventional surgery.

Dr Leung comments: "Laparoscopic resection of rectosigmoid carcinoma does not jeopardise survival and disease control of patients. The justification for adoption of laparoscopic technique would depend on the perceived value of its effectiveness in improving short-term post-operative outcomes".

Source: Eurekalert & others

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