Robotic Prostate Surgery Offers Better Outcome: Study

Friday, 28 Feb 2014 04:44 PM

By Nick Tate

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Robotic prostate-cancer surgery has been given a ringing endorsement in a new study out of UCLA that found men who undergo the computer-assisted procedure fare better than those who have traditional surgery to remove the gland.
 
The study, by the University of California-Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that robotic-assisted prostate is more precise than other types of surgery and is far less likely to leave cancer cells at the edges of tumor sites.

Alert: 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer. How Many Do You Have?
 
As a result, men who undergo the robotic procedure also have less need for additional cancer treatments — such as hormone therapy or radiation — than those who have traditional surgery, according to the study published in the journal European Urology.
 
Robotic-assisted prostatectomy — the removal of the prostate — has come under scrutiny recently with some reports suggesting it can lead to complications when performed by untrained or inexperienced surgeons. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration said it was reviewing such procedures, but advocates have argued the less-invasive surgery itself is safe, as long as it is performed by doctors who are well-trained to work with the da Vinci robotic machines.
 
The new study, led by Jim Hu, M.D., compared 5,556 cancer patients who received robotic surgery with 7,878 who underwent traditional "open surgery" between 2004 and 2009. The researchers looked at the amount of cancer cells at the edge of the tumor site. When too many cells are present, it can indicate surgeons have not completely removed the cancer, leaving patients at risk it may spread or require follow-up therapy.
 
The study also assessed the use of additional cancer therapies — a hormone therapy known as androgen deprivation, as well as radiation — after robotic surgery and open surgery.
 
Dr. Hu’s team found that robotic surgery led to fewer cells at the edges of tumor cites, particularly among patients with aggressive, high-risk prostate cancer. Patients who had robotic surgery also were one-third less likely to need additional cancer therapies within two years after the procedure.

Alert: 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer. How Many Do You Have?

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