Laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer: safe and effective? - a systematic review

Tania Lourenco, Alison Catherine Murray, Adrian Maxwell Grant, Aileen Joyce McKinley, Zygmunt H Krukowski, Luke David Vale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To determine the clinical effectiveness of laparoscopic and laparoscopically assisted surgery in comparison with open surgery for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Background Open resection is the standard method for surgical removal of primary colorectal tumours. However, there is significant morbidity associated with this procedure. Laparoscopic resection (LR) is technically more difficult but may overcome problems associated with open resections (OR).

Methods Systematic review and meta-analysis of short-and long-term data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing LS with OR.

Results Highly sensitive searches of nine databases identified 19 primary RCTs describing data from over 4,500 participants. Length of hospital stay is shorter, blood loss and pain are less, and return to usual activities is likely to be faster after LR than after OR, but duration of operation is longer. Lymph node retrieval, completeness of resection and quality of life do not appear to differ. No statistically significant differences were observed in rates of anastomotic leakage, abdominal wound breakdown, incisional hernia, wound and urinary tract infections, operative and 30-day mortality, and recurrences, nor in overall and disease-free survival up to three years.

Conclusions LR is associated with a quicker recovery in terms of return to usual activities and length of hospital stay with no evidence of a difference in complications or long-term outcomes in comparison to OR, up to three years postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1160
Number of pages14
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number5
Early online date11 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

The original publication is available at


  • colorectal cancer
  • laparoscopic surgery
  • systematic review
  • meta analysis
  • prospective randomized-trial
  • quality-of-life
  • open colectomy
  • colon-cancer
  • assisted colectomy
  • clinical-trial
  • resection
  • carcinoma
  • outcomes


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