March 10, 2022

Bots boost liver cancer outcome

Vanderbilt researchers report that robotic-assisted surgery is comparable, if not superior, to laparoscopic surgery for early-stage liver cancer patients.

Liver cancer, primarily hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the third most common contributor to cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Early-stage HCC has a better prognosis than advanced-stage HCC and can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, including robotic-assisted and laparoscopic options. However, few studies have examined the presumably unique and discrepant short-term and long-term outcomes of robotic-assisted and laparoscopic surgeries.

Employing data from the National Cancer Database, Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, and colleagues conducted the largest study to date to investigate this question. They found that compared to those who received laparoscopic surgery, patients who underwent robotic surgery had higher overall survival rates at the one-, three-, and five-year marks.

These results, published in Cancer, confirm the efficacy of robotic-assisted surgery in treating early-stage HCC.

Other investigators of the study include Linh Duong, PhD, MPH, MS, Hui Cai, MD, PhD, Martha Shrubsole, PhD, Christina Bailey, MD, MSCI, and Kamran Idrees, MD, MSCI, MMHC. This research was supported by the Vanderbilt Training Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (CA160056).