Mixed evidence has been published relating the use of regional anesthesia during oncologic surgery to a decrease in time to cancer recurrence and improvement in overall survival. We investigated whether the use of epidural anesthesia, in addition to general analgesia during and/or after surgical removal of advanced ovarian cancer, has an impact on time to recurrence and overall survival.METHODS:
Patients were identified from a prospective clinical registry. Eighty patients with advanced ovarian cancer (International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, stage IIIC and IV) undergoing surgery between January 2000 and March 2011 were studied. Propensity scoring (PS) methods (matching and inverse weighting) were used to compare the time to recurrence and overall survival of patients who did and did not receive epidural anesthesia and/or analgesia (EA), after controlling for selection bias.RESULTS:
The median time to recurrence was 1.6 and 0.9 years for the EA and no EA groups, respectively (P = 0.02). After PS matching, the median time to recurrence was 1.6 and 1.4 years for the EA and no EA groups, respectively (P = 0.30). Similarly, PS weighting did not demonstrate an improvement in time to recurrence with the use of EA. Using a Cox proportional hazards model in the PS-matched sample, the estimated hazard ratio for EA exposure (0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40–1.33) did not change substantially after adjusting for chemotherapy (0.73; 95% CI, 0.40–1.31). Similar results were obtained using PS weighting. The median survival time was 3.3 and 1.9 years for the EA and no EA groups, respectively (P = 0.01). After PS matching, the median survival time was 3.3 and 2.7 years for the EA and no EA groups, respectively (P = 0.37). Similarly, PS weighting did not demonstrate an improved survival with the use of EA. The estimated hazard ratio (0.74; 95% CI, 0.36–1.49) in the PS matched sample did not change substantially after adjusting for chemotherapy, with similar results when PS weighting was applied.CONCLUSIONS:
After PS matching and weighting, we found no benefit in overall survival or time to recurrence in patients with advanced stages (International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians IIIC and IV) of ovarian cancer after the use of EA during and after tumor debulking surgery.