PATIENTS diagnosed with bladder cancer (BLC) and treated with robot-assisted surgery experience similar results to those who undergo a traditional open operation.
These findings were taken from the largest multi-institutional study to date, led by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), Buffalo, New York, USA. “We found that robot-assisted radical cystectomy, an advanced surgical procedure used to treat BLC that has spread to the bladder wall or recurred, despite local treatment in the bladder, provides similar early oncological outcomes while reducing operative blood loss,” said Dr Khurshid Guru, Director of Robotic Surgery, Department of Urology, RPCI.
The study is a retrospective review of long-term patient outcomes for cystectomies that currently occupy the International Robotic Cystectomy Consortium, which represents 11 institutions in 6 countries. Data from 702 patients with clinically localised BLC from 2003 to date were analysed for 5-year recurrence-free survival (67%), cancer-specific survival (75%), and overall survival (50%). In comparison with traditional open surgery, patients treated with robot-assisted surgery experienced similar long-term survival outcomes.
Robot-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) that uses surgical robotic equipment that imitates surgical movements. MIS procedures enable surgeons to operate through small incisions rather than large ones. For patients, robot-assisted surgery may lead to shorter recovery times and minimal blood loss. “Simply developing and using new MIS techniques during surgery is not enough. The medical community demands proof that MIS provides standard oncologic results as effective as open surgical standards,” said Dr James Mohler, Associate Director and Senior Vice President for Translational Research, RPCI. “This research is useful in continuing to document the viability of the new surgical therapies for the treatment of cancer.”
According to the American Cancer Society, 74,000 new cases of BLC will be diagnosed in 2015.