Robotic-assisted surgery for patients with invasive bladder cancer (radical cystectomy) is a safe alternative to conventional open surgery, according to researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). The study was published in the current issue of Urology.

Khurshid A. Guru, MD, Director of Robotic Surgery, Department of Urologic Oncology at RPCI and colleagues analyzed the cases of the first 20 patients who were treated at Roswell Park with robotic-assisted radical cystectomy with pelvic lymph node dissection and urinary diversion between October 2005 and June 2006.

"The feasibility of robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer is well established. We believe that this study documents its value as a treatment option for advanced bladder cancer, as well," noted Dr. Guru. "Patients experience less blood loss during the procedure, less post-operative pain and more rapid recovery with equivalent oncologic results."

Data were collected on patient demographics, intraoperative parameters, perioperative results and immediate oncologic control. The average patient's age was 70 and the average hospital stay was 10 days. On average, patients returned to non-strenuous activity in four weeks, driving in six weeks and strenuous activity in 10 weeks. The average procedure duration times were 197 minutes for radical cystectomy, 44 minutes for pelvic lymph node dissection and 133 minutes for urinary diversion. Since this study, RPCI has made robotic-assisted surgery the primary treatment option offered to its bladder cancer patients. The first 50 patients treated with this procedure have experienced similar or better results than those reported in this study.

"The early oncologic results are encouraging," said Dr. Guru. "However, long-term oncologic control data and functional outcomes are needed to assess the true benefits of robotic-assisted radical cystectomy."

Using the advanced computer technology of the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System, Roswell Park surgeons are able to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform surgical procedures more precisely. The technology extends the surgeon's capabilities by providing a three-dimensional view of the operating field and improves access to the surgical site through small ports that eliminate the need for large incisions. The system also gives surgeons the ability to rotate instruments 360 degrees.

Approximately 67,160 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2007. Bladder cancer is four times more likely to be found in men than women and is the fourth most frequent cancer diagnosed in men and the ninth most frequent cancer diagnosed in women.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, founded in 1898, is the nation's first cancer research, treatment and education center and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers. Roswell Park has affiliate sites and collaborative programs in New York, Pennsylvania and in China. For more information, visit RPCI's website at www.roswellpark

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