Nationwide implementation of laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer: short-term outcomes and long-term survival in a population-based cohort

Kjartan Stormark, Kjetil Søreide, Jon Arne Søreide, Jan Terje Kvaløy, Frank Pfeffer, Morten T Eriksen, Bjørn S Nedrebø, Hartwig Kørner
Surgical Endoscopy 2016, 30 (11): 4853-4864

BACKGROUND: Randomized trials show similar outcomes after open surgery and laparoscopy for colon cancer, and confirmation of outcomes after implementation in routine practice is important. While some studies have reported long-term outcomes after laparoscopic surgery from single institutions, data from large patient cohorts are sparse. We investigated short- and long-term outcomes of laparoscopic and open surgery for treating colon cancer in a large national cohort.

METHODS: We retrieved data from the Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Registry for all colon cancer resections performed in 2007-2010. Five-year relative survival rates following laparoscopic and open surgeries were calculated, including excess mortality rates associated with potential predictors of death.

RESULTS: Among 8707 patients with colon cancer that underwent major resections, 16 % and 36 % received laparoscopic procedures in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Laparoscopic procedures were most common in elective surgeries for treating stages I-III, right colon, or sigmoid tumours. The conversion rate of laparoscopic procedures was 14.5 %. Among all patients, laparoscopy provided higher 5-year relative survival rates (70 %) than open surgery (62 %) (P = 0.040), but among the largest group of patients electively treated for stages I-III disease, the approaches provided similar relative survival rates (78 vs. 81 %; P = 0.535). Excess mortality at 2 years post-surgery was lower after laparoscopy than after open surgery (excess hazard ratio, 0.7; P = 0.013), but similar between groups during the last 3 years of follow-up. Major predictors of death were stage IV disease, tumour class pN+, age > 80 years, and emergency procedures (excess hazard ratios were 5.3, 2.4, 2.1, and 2.0, respectively; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Nationwide implementation of laparoscopic colectomy for colon cancer was safe and achieved results comparable to those from previous randomized trials.

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