Laparoscopic-assisted vs. open surgery for colorectal cancer: Comparative study of immune effects

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PURPOSE:Our aim was to test the hypothesis that laparoscopic-assisted resection for colorectal cancer has an immunologic advantage over traditional open surgery.METHODS:Sixteen patients with colorectal cancer were randomized to undergo laparoscopic-assisted resection or open surgery. Basic patient data were recorded, and serum interleukin-6 levels, relative proportions of lymphocytes, and human leukocyte antigen-DR expression on monocytes were determined at specific time intervals.RESULTS:Operating time was longer for laparoscopic-assisted resection (P=0.02), but analgesic requirements were less (P=0.04). All patients exhibited the following: interleukin-6 levels increased to a maximum at 4 hours and returned to preoperative levels within 48 hours. This response appeared greater for open resection (mean peak level, 313 vs. 173 pg/ml; P=0.25). Relative granulocytosis (P<0.001) was seen within 48 hours, which was offset by a decrease in percentage of lymphocytes (P<0.001). Changes in lymphocyte subfractions were most significant seven days post-surgery: natural killer cells decreased (P=0.003); T cells increased (P=0.008), with elevation in the CD4/CD8 ratio (P=0.003). B cells were largely unchanged at all time periods. Human leukocyte antigen-DR expression on monocytes was significantly less at 48 hours postsurgery (P<0.001). All changes were reversed within three weeks of surgery. There were no differences when comparing laparoscopic-assisted resection with open surgery.CONCLUSIONS:Both laparoscopic-assisted resection and open surgery affect the immune response. It would appear that laparoscopic-assisted resection does not have an immunologic advantage over open surgery in patients with colorectal cancer.

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