Background: Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy (LAC) has gained acceptance for the treatment of colon cancer. However, long-term outcomes of LAC have not been examined at the national level outside of experienced centers. Objective: Lo compare use and outcomes of LAC and open colectomy (OC). Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: National Cancer Data Base. Patients: Patients who underwent LAC (n= 11 038) and OC (n = 231 381) for nonmetastatic colon cancer (1998-2002). Main Outcome Measures: Regression methods were used to assess use and outcomes of LAC compared with OC. Results: Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy use increased from 3.8% in 1998 to 5.2% in 2002 (P<.001). Patients were significantly more likely to undergo LAC if they were younger than 75 years, had private insurance, lived in higher-income areas, had stage I cancer, had descending and/or sigmoid cancers, or were treated at National Cancer Institute-designated hospitals. Compared with those undergoing OC, patents undergoing LAC had 12 or more nodes examined less frequently (P< .001), similar perioperative mortality and recurrence rates, and higher 5-year survival rates (64.1% vs 58.5%, P< .001). After adjusting for patient, tumor, treatment, and hospital factors, 5-year survival was significantly better after LAC compared with OC for stage I and II but not for stage III cancer. Highest-volume centers had comparable short- and long-term LAC outcomes compared with lowest-volume hospitals, except highest-volume centers had significantly higher lymph node counts (median, 12 vs 8 nodes; P< .001). Conclusions: Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy and OC outcomes are generally comparable in the population. However, survival was better after an LAC than after an OC in select patients.
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