FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Cancer Institute Study Validates Effectiveness of Colon Cancer Treatment Used Widely at
Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery
Liver Cancer Tumor Ablation Via Radio Frequency
Procedure Also Being Pioneered at MIMIS
(May 25, 2004) Crosby, Minn. A study by the National Cancer Institute released late last week in the New England Journal of Medicine validated a belief long held by the surgeons at The Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIMIS) at the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby: Treatment of colon cancer through minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is equally as effective, and in some aspects more effective, than traditional open-surgery methods.
“The results and conclusions of the National Cancer Institute’s study are very encouraging,” said Dr. Howard McCollister, a laparoendoscopic surgeon and co-director at MIMIS. “They document the promise and progress of MIS in treating cancer with laparoendoscopic surgical procedures and techniques, and the methods we are using at MIMIS are very effective.”
About 100,000 colon cancer operations are performed in the United States each year. Conventional surgery involves removing the cancerous colon segment through an eight-inch incision. In laparoscopic surgery, the diseased section of colon is removed through a two-inch cut.
Virtually all colectomies performed at MIMIS are done laparoscopically by surgeons trained specifically to perform the procedure in this manner. MIMIS is home to one of the largest teams of MIS surgeons in Minnesota that have the skills and training to perform this complicated, yet highly effective procedure.
“The study confirms both the legitimacy of our minimally invasive approach to colectomy and the role MIS will play in the future of cancer treatment,” said McCollister, “and here at MIMIS, we’re forging ahead and finding other technologies and techniques to advance the treatment of cancers via laparoscopic surgery.”
Among the other advancements in cancer treatment being pioneered at MIMIS is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency (RF) in the ablation of tumors in the liver. Through this procedure surgeons deliver monitored and controlled levels of RF into the tissue through an array of thin electrodes that heat and destroy, or ablate, the targeted tissue. In many cases, this procedure can be performed with just local anesthesia. A 2002 study conducted by California-based RITA Medical Systems, Inc. showed that RF ablation increased median survival rates two-to-threefold compared to historical survival rates for patients treated with chemotherapy alone. Surgeons at MIMIS have been using RF on liver cancer patients since 2003.
In September 2003, The Board of Directors of the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) approved the formation of MIMIS. Over the last decade CRMC has made a multi-million dollar investment in equipment, buildings and staffing to expand its capabilities in minimally invasive surgical procedures. This work led to the formation of MIMIS and the beginning of the next phase of a long-term initiative by CRMC to use the least invasive surgical methods possible and also to help pioneer other advancements in this area of medicine. More than 100 different minimally invasive laparoendoscopic, orthopedic and opthalmalogical surgical procedures are routinely performed at MIMIS in Crosby.
The CRMC campus is also home to the Central Lakes Medical Clinic and the Crosby Eye Clinic. Combined, the CRMC campus has a staff of more than 40 physicians and surgeons and employs more than 700 medical professionals and administrative staff. The Cuyuna Regional Medical Center is a public district healthcare facility in Crow Wing County serving people in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities. It was founded in 1964.
Theresa Sullivan, CRMC, (218) 546-4354
Pete Stoddart, (651) 251-2140
National Cancer Institute Study Findings:
The National Cancer Institute released last week in the New England Journal of Medicine a study involving 48 hospitals in the United States and Canada comparing laparoendoscopic and traditional, “open” surgery. The study found virtually identical rates of survival, tumor recurrence and surgical complications, allaying fears that tumors would be more likely to return if surgeons did not open up the patient's belly for a full view. It involved 872 patients. Half were randomly chosen for the laparoscopic procedure, while the rest got open surgery. The results were strikingly similar.
“It validates yet again the traditional benefits of MIS,” added laparoendoscopic surgeon Dr. Paul Severson, also co-director at MIMIS. “With virtually identical success rates between conventional colectomy and laparoscopic colectomy in colon cancer cases, the minimally invasive approach offered less post operative pain and shorter hospital stays.
“Complications, like wound infections and bleeding, occurred in 21 percent getting laparoscopy and 20 percent getting open surgery,” said Dr. McCollister. “Eighty-six percent of patients getting the laparoscopic procedure and 85 percent getting open surgery were alive three years later.”
“Cancer returned in 16 percent of patients getting laparoscopy versus 18 percent getting open surgery,” added Dr. Severson, “and the overall survival rate at three years was 86 percent in the laparoscopic-surgery group versus 85 percent in the open-colectomy.
“There was no significant difference between groups in the time to recurrence or overall survival for patients with any stage of cancer.”
Perioperative recovery was faster in the laparoscopic-surgery group than in the open-colectomy group, as reflected by a shorter median hospital stay and briefer use of parenteral narcotics (three days vs. four days). The rates of intraoperative complications, 30-day postoperative mortality, complications at discharge and 60 days, hospital readmission, and reoperation were very similar between groups.