Background: Feasibility and safety of laparoscopic management of gynecologic cancers have been established by numerous clinical trials. However, the degree to which such results are achievable outside the context of formal research programs and the actual extent of laparoscopy uptake since its introduction are unclear. Purpose of this study was to examine the impact upon operative and cancer outcomes of the incorporation of laparoscopy into the surgical practice of our gynecologic oncology service. Methods: Data from 383 consecutive women undergoing surgery for the treatment of an apparently early-stage gynecologic cancer between 2000 and 2008 were analyzed. Integration of minimally access surgery for the treatment of invasive malignancies began with borderline ovarian tumors in 2001 and proceeded sequentially to include endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancer patients. Results: The annual proportion of laparoscopic cases has increased significantly over the study period from 7.7% in 2001 to 90.9% in 2008 (P <0.0001 for trend). A temporal trend toward reduction in estimated blood loss was observed in both endometrial cancer and cervical cancer patients (P <0.0001). There was a significant decrease in the percentage of patients requiring blood transfusions [18 (17.1%) during the period 2000-2002, 19 (13.6%) during 2003-2005, and 8 (5.8%) during 2006-2008; P = 0.005 for trend]. Length of hospital stay has decreased significantly over time for all disease sites (P <0.0001 for endometrial and cervical cancer; P = 0.02 for ovarian cancer). No difference was found in median operative time, number of lymph nodes harvested, complication rates, 1- and 2-year disease-free survival, and overall survival when data of subsequent time periods were compared. Conclusions: Substantial utilization of laparoscopy in the existing practice of a gynecologic oncology service provided benefits to patients without detrimental effects on clinical outcomes. The relatively short follow-up time of laparoscopic cases disallows firm conclusions on long-term survival.
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