Acute phase responses following minimal access and conventional thoracic surgery

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 Sep;20(3):455-63. doi: 10.1016/s1010-7940(01)00841-7.


Objectives: Major thoracic surgery is associated with trauma-related immunological changes. These may impair anti-tumour immunity. We hypothesize that the reduced operative trauma associated with a video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) approach may decrease acute phase responses and, consequently, lead to better preservation of immune function. This prospective randomized study compared the effects of conventional open thoracic surgery and VATS on acute phase responses in patients undergoing pulmonary lobectomy.

Methods: Acute phase indicators were analyzed in patients undergoing lobectomy for suspected bronchogenic carcinoma. Surgery was prospectively randomized to pulmonary lobectomy by VATS or limited postero-lateral thoracotomy. Blood was taken pre-operatively and at 4, 24, 48, 72, 120 and 168 h post-operatively for analysis of C-reactive protein (CRP; 41 patients: open, n=22; VATS, n=19) interleukin (IL)-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptors (TNF-sR55, TNF-sR75) and P-selectin (24 patients: open, n=12; VATS, n=12). Samples taken at 48 and 168 h were also analyzed for phagocyte reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (25 patients: open, n=16; VATS, n=19).

Results: Surgery increased acute phase responses. VATS was associated with lower CRP and IL-6 levels. In the open surgery group, significant increases in ROS in neutrophils (up to 36% greater than before surgery, n=12, P<0.02-0.05) were detected at 2 days after surgery, but in the VATS group, the increase after surgery (of up to 17%, n=18) did not reach significance. Similarly, monocyte ROS increases of up to 25% in the mean ROS in the open surgery group and of up to 17% in the VATS group were detected on days 2 and 7 after surgery.

Conclusions: VATS pulmonary lobectomy is associated with reduced peri-operative changes in acute phase responses. This finding may have implications for peri-operative tumour immuno-surveillance in lung cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / etiology*
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • P-Selectin / blood
  • Pneumonectomy / adverse effects*
  • Pneumonectomy / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / blood
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / adverse effects*
  • Thoracotomy / adverse effects*


  • Interleukin-6
  • P-Selectin
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • C-Reactive Protein