May 24, 2024

Colon cancer study: Robots harvest more lymph nodes than conventional laparoscopic surgery (CLS)

Editor's Note

Although robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery (RLS) and conventional laparoscopic surgery (CLS) offer similar survival outcomes for sigmoid colon cancer, RLS harvests comparatively more lymph nodes, according to a study published May 10 in the Journal of Robotic Surgery.

According to a May 15 report on the study in The American Journal of Managed Care, CLS is the most prevalent treatment for colon cancer due to faster recovery. However, studies also show robots offering advantages in such as flexibility and reduced operator fatigue, and for patients, less bleeding, lower complication rates and shorter hospital stays. However, “The effectiveness of RLS in sigmoid colon cancer specifically has been less studied. This study aimed to use a propensity score-matched analysis to evaluate RLS vs CLS in perioperative efficacy and outcomes.”

The study involved 452 patients in China, 335 of which underwent either RLS or CLS, the journal reports.  The mean number of lymph nodes harvested from RLS patients was 22.0 (7.0) compared with 19.3 (5.3) in the CLS group. Other outcomes include a longer mean operation time for RLS—147.4 minutes versus 136.1—but also significantly lower blood loss, at 44.5 ml versus 51.8 for CLS. Mean total hospitalization costs were higher for RLS, but these patients also had fewer complication rages (10.4% versus 13.2% for CLS patients). Three-year and disease-free 3-year survival rates were also higher.

“There were some limitations of this study,” the journal reports. “The study took data from a single center and was retrospective in nature. However, despite these limitations and future studies being needed to confirm the findings, RLS has been found to be more effective in treating sigmoid colon cancer through the increased harvesting of lymph nodes and having slightly higher survival rates.”


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