, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 55-61

Cancer Dissemination during Laparoscopic Surgery: Tubes, Gas, and Cells

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Abstract. Port-site metastasis has been an unexpected finding after laparoscopic surgery in gastrointestinal cancer patients. No clear explanation exists for this phenomenom. The aims of this study were to evaluate the dissemination pattern in an experimental model of hepatocarcinoma in the rat and summarize current knowledge about the risks and the results of experimental studies on cancer dissemination during laparoscopic surgery. NDA-induced hepatocarcinoma was obtained in Sprague-Dawley rats. Tumors were manipulated during laparoscopy (group 1,

n = 11) or laparotomy (group 2, n = 12). A Medline review of all experimental studies about the risk of cancer dissemination during laparoscopic surgery was undertaken. Both models were associated with implants in parietal wounds [1/11 in group 1 (9%) vs. 1/12 in group 2 (8%), p = NS]. Analysis of the current literature confirms that laparoscopy is associated with abdominal cell mobilization, and cells can be recovered in trocars, filtered exhaust gas, and instruments. Postoperative immunosuppression, the biologic aggressiveness of the tumor, and the gas used for laparoscopy also influence tumoral growth. Port-site metastases are secondary to multiple factors, including the technical skill of the surgeon, the biologic properties of the tumors, and local environmental aspects. Undoubtedly, laparoscopy can help disseminate aggressive tumors and should be reserved for diagnostic and staging procedures or for treatment of low-grade malignant tumors. Therapeutic resection, especially of colon cancer, should be restricted to prospective and randomized trials until there are enough hard data to rule out the clinical importance of this potentially severe complication.