Minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal surgery for cancer: current evidence and practice

Gemmill, Elizabeth H. (2012) Minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal surgery for cancer: current evidence and practice. DM thesis, University of Nottingham.

PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (7MB) | Preview



Since its introduction in the early 1990s, minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal surgery for cancer has been growing in popularity. Despite this, published evidence on this type of technique is weak and its role in the management of gastric and oesophageal cancer remains controversial.


The aim of this thesis was to test the hypothesis that: minimally invasive gastro- oesophageal cancer surgery has superior outcomes compared to control studies of conventional open surgery; but current studies are methodologically inadequate to confirm this.


The first study (chapter 3) is a systematic review of the literature on minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal cancer surgery, outlining the differences between literature published in Eastern and Western countries.

The following 3 chapters outline and use a phase II surgical study to obtain data on minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal cancer (MIGOCS.) The MIGOCS group was set up in 2005 amongst UK surgeons. An online database was developed to enable data collection and comprises 5 sections: demographics; pre-operative staging and assessment; surgical intervention; post-operative course; pathology and clinical outcome. The first study is retrospective collecting data up to December 2006; the second study is prospective with data obtained between December 2006- July 2008 from centres around the UK utilising the MIGOCS database.

Chapter 7 involves analysis of the learning curve in laparoscopic gastro-oesophageal cancer surgery using CUSUM (continuous surveillance monitoring) assessment. By studying operative time at each centre, improvement or deterioration in quality were detected.


The systematic review of minimally invasive gastro-oesophageal surgery consists in the majority of case reports, with no randomised controlled trials of oesophagectomies and 4 (low quality) randomised controlled trials of gastrectomies. It demonstrates a mortality and morbidity of 2.3% and 46.2% respectively for oesophagectomies; 0.1% and 12.7% respectively for gastrectomies. Data from this review suggests that the minimally invasive approach is beneficial compared to open surgery in terms of reduced mortality, respiratory complications, blood loss and quicker return to a good quality of life (but not reduced hospital stay as expected.)

There are currently 60 MIGOCS member consultant surgeons from over 40 UK centres.

The retrospective study obtained data from 7 UK centres with an overall mortality and morbidity of 6.0% and 57% respectively for oesophagectomies and 7.7% and 13% respectively for gastrectomies.

The prospective study collected data from 7 UK centres, comprising a total of 258 minimally invasive oesophagectomies and 33 minimally invasive gastrectomies. Overall mortality and morbidity were 2.5% and 56.6% respectively for oesophagectomies and 10.8% and 27.3% respectively for gastrectomies.

CUSUM analysis varied considerably between centres. The two larger volume centres however demonstrated an improvement in their operative time with experience, with a possible pateau at around 30 procedures.


Published data suggests that the minimally invasive approach to gastro-oesophageal cancer has advantages over conventional open surgery. Data collected in this thesis does not overwhelmingly support published evidence, but does demonstrate that this technique is both safe and feasible even during the early part of a surgeon’s learning curve. It is the first study to provide an insight into outcomes of this type of surgery in a multicentre setting in the UK; and has made progress towards a randomised controlled trial.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DM)
Supervisors: Scholefield, J.H.
Keywords: Esophagus; Digestive organs; Cancer; Treatment; Surgery
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WI Digestive system
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Clinical Sciences
Item ID: 55424
Depositing User: Blore, Mrs Kathryn
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2018 09:56
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 09:45

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View