Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of Laparoscopic versus Open Surgery for Non-Metastatic Rectal Cancer

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Surgery, Songklanagarind Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand.

2 Department of Surgical Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand.


Background: Rectal cancer is a pervasive type of malignancy that accounts for one-third of colorectal cancers worldwide. Several studies have assessed the use of laparoscopic surgery as a treatment option. However, there is an ongoing debate regarding its oncological safety. Methods: This retrospective study included 270 patients with non-metastatic rectal cancer who underwent either laparoscopic resection (LR, n = 93) or open resection (OR, n = 177) in an academic medical center. The primary outcomes were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS), whereas the secondary outcome was postoperative complications. We performed propensity score analyses and compared outcomes. Univariate survival analyses using Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazard regression models were also conducted. Results: In the propensity score matching analyses, 93 LR- and 93 OR-matched patients were compared. The overall median follow-up time was 3.95 years (range, 1.98‒5.55 years). The 3-year OS was similar between the groups (LR 79.1% vs OR 79.2%, p = 0.82). Meanwhile, the DFS rate was also comparable between the groups (LR 77.8% vs OR 73.2%, p = 0.53). No significant differences in operative blood loss or hospital stay between the groups were observed (150 vs 150 mL, p = 0.74; 9 vs 10 days, p = 0.077, respectively). Also, no difference was found in postoperative complications between the groups (p = 0.23). However, LR was associated with a longer operative time than OR (455 vs 356 min, p < 0.001) and the number of lymph nodes harvested in LR was slightly fewer than OR (10 vs 11, p = 0.045). Conclusion: LR of rectal cancer is safe, feasible, and comparable to standard OR in terms of the oncologic outcomes. However, LR required longer operative times. A well-designed prospective study with a large number of participants and long follow-up period is needed to show significant differences between the two groups.


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