Anesthetic care influences long-term outcomes: What is the evidence?

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2021 Dec;35(4):491-505. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2021.01.004. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


Despite advances in cancer therapy surgery remains one of the most important treatments for solid tumors; however, even with the development of better and less invasive surgical techniques, surgery is characterized by the increased risk of tumor metastasis, accelerated growth of pre-existing micrometastasis and cancer recurrence. Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) and regional anesthesia have been proposed to improve long-term outcomes after cancer surgery by different mechanisms, including attenuation of the neuroendocrine response, immunosuppression, decreased opioid requirements (opioids promote angiogenesis and tumor growth) and avoidance of volatile inhalational agents. Much of the data that support these ideas originate from laboratory studies, while there is no clear consensus from the retrospective cohort studies to date. Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are in progress and may provide a better understanding regarding the role of the anesthesiologist in cancer surgery. The purpose of this review is to summarize the experimental and human data regarding the effect of anesthesia agents and anesthesia techniques on cancer outcomes.

Keywords: anesthesia; neoplasm; progression; survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthesia*
  • Anesthetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics