Perioperative management and oncological outcomes following radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: a matched retrospective cohort study

Toby N. Weingarten, Ashley M. Taccolini, Samuel T. Ahle, Kelsey R. Dietz, Shaun S. Dowd, Igor Frank, Stephen A. Boorjian, Prabin Thapa, Andrew C. Hanson, Darrell R. Schroeder, Juraj Sprung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: The immune system plays an important role in tumour progression. Systemic opioids are immunosuppressive; thus, theoretically they may promote tumour spread. Our primary aim was to test the hypothesis that general anesthesia (GA) with spinal analgesia (SA) in patients with bladder cancer undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) will both reduce systemic opioid use and improve oncological outcomes. Since blood transfusions also induce immunosuppression, a secondary aim was to evaluate the effect of perioperative transfusions on oncological outcomes. Methods: One hundred ninety-five patients who underwent RC with GA+SA from 1998-2007 were matched 1:1 to controls who underwent surgery with GA only using propensity scoring and tumour characteristics known to be highly associated with oncological outcomes. Medical records were reviewed for use of opioids and transfusions. Outcomes were tumour recurrence, cancer-specific mortality, and all-cause mortality. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and associations of anesthetic technique and transfusions with outcomes were analyzed using stratified multivariable proportional hazard regression. Results: Systemic opioid use was reduced with GA+SA relative to GA (P < 0.001). There was no difference between groups with respect to all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77 to 1.53; P = 0.636), bladder cancer mortality (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.61; P = 0.893), or cancer recurrence (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 0.86 to 2.02; P = 0.205). Nevertheless, patients who were perioperatively transfused had an increased all-cause mortality (HR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.11 to 4.40; P = 0.025), and cancer-specific mortality (HR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.05 to 6.48; P = 0.039). Conclusions: In patients undergoing RC, the opioid-sparing effect with SA was not associated with improved oncological outcomes, while blood transfusion was associated with increased mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-595
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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