Robotic Techniques in Esophagogastric Cancer Surgery: An Assessment of Short- and Long-Term Clinical Outcomes

Sivesh K. Kamarajah, Ewen A. Griffiths, Alexander W. Phillips, Jelle Ruurda, Richard van Hillegersberg, Wayne L. Hofstetter, Sheraz R. Markar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Robotic esophagogastric cancer surgery is gaining widespread adoption. This population-based cohort study aimed to compare rates of textbook outcomes (TOs) and survival from robotic minimally invasive techniques for esophagogastric cancer. Methods: Data from the United States National Cancer Database (NCDB) (2010–2017) were used to identify patients with non-metastatic esophageal or gastric cancer receiving open surgery (to the esophagus, n = 11,442; stomach, n = 22,183), laparoscopic surgery (to the esophagus [LAMIE], n = 4827; stomach [LAMIG], n = 6359), or robotic surgery (to the esophagus [RAMIE], n = 1657; stomach [RAMIG], n = 1718). The study defined TOs as 15 or more lymph nodes examined, margin-negative resections, hospital stay less than 21 days, no 30-day readmissions, and no 90-day mortalities. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox analyses were used to account for treatment selection bias. Results: Patients receiving robotic surgery were more commonly treated in high-volume academic centers with advanced clinical T and N stage disease. From 2010 to 2017, TO rates increased for esophageal and gastric cancer treated via all surgical techniques. Compared with open surgery, significantly higher TO rates were associated with RAMIE (odds ratio [OR], 1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.27–1.58) and RAMIG (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.17–1.45). For esophagectomy, long-term survival was associated with both TO (hazard ratio [HR 0.64, 95% CI 0.60–0.67) and RAMIE (HR 0.92; 95% CI 0.84–1.00). For gastrectomy, long-term survival was associated with TO (HR 0.58; 95% CI 0.56–0.60) and both LAMIG (HR 0.89; 95% CI 0.85–0.94) and RAMIG (HR 0.88; 95% CI 0.81–0.96). Subset analysis in high-volume centers confirmed similar findings. Conclusion: Despite potentially adverse learning curve effects and more advanced tumor stages captured during the study period, both RAMIE and RAMIG performed in mostly high-volume centers were associated with improved TO and long-term survival. Therefore, consideration for wider adoption but a well-designed phase 3 randomized controlled trial (RCT) is required for a full evaluation of the benefits conferred by robotic techniques for esophageal and gastric cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2812-2825
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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