Pain drugs used in prostate gland removal linked to cancer outcome, study finds

December 17, 2013, Mayo Clinic

The methods used to anesthetize prostate cancer patients and control pain when their prostate glands are surgically removed for adenocarcinoma may affect their long-term cancer outcomes, a study led by Mayo Clinic has found. Opioids, painkillers commonly given during and after surgery, may suppress the immune system's ability to fight cancer cells. The research suggests that supplementing general anesthesia with a spinal or epidural painkiller before a radical prostatectomy reduces a patient's need for opioids after surgery, and this finding was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence. The findings are published online in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

The immune system's strength is especially important in cancer surgery because surgical manipulation of a tumor may spread . The immune system can be impaired by , the overall stress surgery places on the body and by post-surgical systemic opioid use. The study found better outcomes in patients who had general anesthesia supplemented with spinal or epidural delivery of a long-acting opioid such as morphine, than in those who received general anesthesia only.

"We found a significant association between this opioid-sparing technique, reduced progression of the prostate tumor and overall mortality," says senior author Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist.

Researchers used Mayo Clinic's prostatectomy registry, anesthesia database and electronic medical records to identify patients who had prostate gland surgery for adenocarcinoma from January 1991 through December 2005. Reports of recurrence of cancer, cancer spread and death were confirmed with patients' physicians.

While promising, the findings must be tested in randomized trials, Dr. Sprung says: "Provided future studies confirm what we've found in this study, maybe down the line this would be a standard of care for pain management in patients undergoing cancer surgery."

Explore further: Anesthesia technique may reduce breast cancer recurrence and death

Related Stories

Anesthesia technique may reduce breast cancer recurrence and death

October 16, 2013
Breast cancer patients who received the combination of a nerve block with general anesthesia for their breast cancer surgery had less cancer recurrence and were three times less likely to die than those who received only ...

Epidural during/Post spine surgery gives better outcomes

July 17, 2013
(HealthDay)—In patients undergoing reconstructive spine surgery, combined epidural and general anesthesia results in better pain control and other outcomes compared with general anesthesia plus narcotics, according to a ...

Advanced-stage prostate cancer patients experience 20-year survival rates with surgery

May 15, 2011
Long-term survival rates for patients with advanced prostate cancer suggest they can be good candidates for surgery, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Their study found a 20-year survival rate for 80 percent of patients ...

No link between anesthesia, dementia in elderly

May 1, 2013
Elderly patients who receive anesthesia are no more likely to develop long-term dementia or Alzheimer's disease than other seniors, according to new Mayo Clinic research. The study analyzed thousands of patients using the ...

Weight at time of diagnosis linked to prostate cancer mortality

October 29, 2013
Men who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than men who are of healthy weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the journal ...

Recommended for you

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.