, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1405-1406
Date: 05 Mar 2008

Robotic surgery for rectal cancer: may it improve also survival?

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Treatment and survival of patients with solid cancers have been improved over the last years. Two of the major goals and challenges for various cancers including colorectal, stomach, breast and other tumors are: local control by appropriate surgery alone or plus chemoradiotherapy [14] and personalized adjuvant systemic treatment through molecular and genetic biomarkers [58].

Laparoscopic surgery has been increasingly adopted into clinical practice, mostly to improve the quality of life (QOL) of patients with gastrointestinal cancer. However, there is no evidence that it improves also survival rates. Perhaps, low anterior rectal resection with total mesorectal excision (TME) represents a field in which the laparoscopic approach might lead to better local control, disease-free survival, and overall survival than the open procedure.

In a recent issue of the Journal Baik et al. report on the use of the da Vinci system in rectal cancer surgery [9]. Why should this technique, beyond QOL impr ...