What is the better option for cervical cancer surgery? Studies find that the minimally invasive procedure for the condition actually poses higher risks for recurrence and death.
Minimally Invasive Or Traditional Surgery
In two new studies, researchers showed that the minimally invasive surgery techniques for cervical cancer may lead to higher death rates compared to the traditional open surgeries. Doctors at MD Anderson wanted to see which procedure was the best option for cervical cancer patients, so they set out to randomly assign 740 patients to have a hysterectomy either via a minimally invasive or robot-assisted procedure, or a traditional open surgery.
However, researchers had to stop the study just after four months because they found that the group of women who had the hysterectomy via a minimally invasive procedure had dramatically lower survival rates.
Higher Recurrence And Death Rates
Evidently, those who had the minimally invasive procedure are four times likelier of having a recurrence and of dying compared to those who had the open surgery.
Furthermore, another study, which reviewed the national database of about 70 percent of the people who were diagnosed with cancer, also found that those who had the minimally invasive procedure were 65 percent more likely to die during the four to five year follow-up compared to those who got the open surgery.
As such, the results of the study prompted the doctors at MD Anderson to immediately go from recommending the minimally invasive surgery to recommending the open surgery to early stage cervical cancer patients.
What Caused It?
Although the reasons behind the higher recurrence and death rates are still unclear, it is possible that the laparoscopic cameras that they use during the minimally invasive procedures miss some of the tumors and end up being left behind. However, the studies did not show the patients who got the minimally invasive procedure to have more residual tumors than the other group.
It’s also possible that the problem may also be caused by the pumping of CO2 gas during minimally invasive procedures, as CO2 has previously been seen as an accelerator of tumor cell growth.
Given the results of the study, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network now recommends women with early stage cancer to opt for open surgery rather than the minimally invasive option.