Purpose: Although laparoscopy is being increasingly used to treat urological malignancies, there is still concern regarding the induction of local recurrence and port site metastasis. To our knowledge no major clinical study with long-term followup has been presented in the field of urological laparoscopy. We assessed the oncological safety of laparoscopy with emphasis on incidence of local recurrence and port site metastasis, analyzing the risk factors for such events based on a 10-year experience.
Materials and methods: From June 1992 to May 2002 we performed 1,098 laparoscopic procedures for urological malignancies, including 450 radical prostatectomies, 478 pelvic and 80 retroperitoneal lymph node dissections, 45 radical nephrectomies, 22 radical nephroureterectomies, 12 partial nephrectomies and 11 adrenalectomies. In 418 cases of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy pelvic lymphadenectomy was done simultaneously. Of the procedures 917 were performed transperitoneally, including 181 via retroperitoneal or extraperitoneal access. A total of 567 procedures were performed in case of histologically proven cancer, whereas 531 represented only staging operations.
Results: Median followup was 58 months (range 4 to 127). Eight local recurrences were observed (0.73% overall, 1.41% of histologically proven cases). There were recurrences after nephroureterectomy for transitional cell carcinoma of the ureter in 1 patient, after radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma in 1, growing teratoma after retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in 2, local recurrence of prostate cancer in 3 and after removal of an adrenal metastasis of melanoma in 1. Two port site metastases (0.18% overall, 0.35% of histologically proved cases) occurred, including metastasis of small cell lung carcinoma after adrenalectomy and a residual mass following 2 cycles of chemotherapy after retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.
Conclusions: According to our experience the incidence of local recurrence and the risk of port site metastases is low and seems to be mainly related to the aggressiveness of the tumor and immunosuppression status of the patient, respectively rather than to technical aspects of the laparoscopic approach.