Publication Abstract

Authors: Nathan H, Yin H, Wong SL

Title: Postoperative Complications and Long-Term Survival After Complex Cancer Resection.

Journal: Ann Surg Oncol 24(3):638-644

Date: 2017 Mar

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Recent attention has focused on the ability to rescue patients from postoperative complications and prevent short-term mortality. However, it is unknown whether patients rescued from complications after complex cancer resections have long-term survival outcomes similar to those of patients without complications. METHODS: From 2005 to 2009 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data, the study identified elderly patients who underwent resection for cancers of the esophagus, lung, or pancreas. The association of risk-adjusted long-term survival with serious complications, minor complications, and no complications was analyzed. RESULTS: The study included 905 patients with esophageal cancer, 12,395 patients with lung cancer, and 1966 patients with pancreatic cancer. The serious complication rates were respectively 17.4, 9.5 and 11.8 %. The patients with serious complications had lower 5-year survival rates than those with no complications even if they were rescued and survived 30 days (20 vs 43 % for esophagus, 29 vs 54 % for lung, and 10 vs 21 % for pancreas cancer). Even after patients who died within 180 days after surgery were excluded from the analysis, a decrement in risk-adjusted long-term survival was observed among the patients with serious complications after all three procedures. The association between complications and long-term survival was not explained by differences in receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy CONCLUSION: Patients who undergo complex cancer resection and experience serious complications have diminished long-term survival, even if they are "rescued" from their complications. This finding persists even when deaths within 6 months after surgery are excluded from the analysis. Metrics of surgical success should consider terms beyond 30 and even 90 days as well as the long-term consequences of surgical complications.