Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 09:56 am

Similar results for first stage of two-year trial

The first randomised controlled trial to directly compare robotic surgery with open surgery for patients with localised prostate cancer finds that robotic and open surgery achieve similar results in terms of key quality of life indicators at three months.

The study, published in The Lancet in July 2016, is the first stage of a two-year trial and reports quality of life outcomes such as urinary and sexual function. Early results suggest similar quality of life outcomes at three months, but longer-term follow-up is now needed to fully assess the outcomes of both techniques, including on cancer survival.

Rapid adoption of robotic surgery

Since the use of robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) was first reported in 2000, there has been rapid adoption of robotic surgery for men with prostate cancer. One million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide each year.

The most common treatment for localised disease is surgery to remove the prostate gland, and some men experience urinary and erectile problems following surgery. For most men, the operation will get rid of the cancer cells, but for around one in three men, cancer cells may return some time after the operation.

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Differences between two groups non-significant

The primary outcomes of the research included urinary and sexual function at 12 weeks and there was no difference between the two groups. There were also no differences in the number of post-operative complications.

Patients who underwent open surgery spent a longer amount of time in hospital after surgery but on average, both groups spent the same number of days away from work. Over time, the differences levelled out and became non-significant at 12 weeks.

Urinary and sexual function continues to improve

The authors note that urinary and sexual function can continue to improve for up to three years after surgery, so differences in outcomes between these two groups might become apparent later on.

The study is the first stage of a two-year trial.

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