Massive allogenic blood transfusion during cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS/HIPEC) increased the risk of major complications and reduced overall survival in a review of 936 cases at St. George Hospital near Sydney, Australia.
CRS/HIPEC is a long, complex procedure for peritoneal carcinomatosis, pseudomyxoma peritonei, peritoneal mesothelioma, and other abdominal cancers. The abdomen is opened, the cancer is debulked as much as possible, and the cavity is filled with heated chemotherapy drugs. Because CRS/HIPEC often requires multivisceral resection and dissection in multiple abdominal regions, up to 77% of patients require intraoperative transfusions, and up to 37% require massive allogenic blood transfusions (MABT) with five or more units.
Blood transfusions are known to be associated with poorer cancer surgery outcomes, but their effect in CRS/HIPEC hasn’t been much studied, which is “surprising given the extent to which blood products are used in” the procedure, said investigators led by Akshat Saxena, MD, a surgeon at St. George Hospital (J Gastrointest Surg. 2017 May 30.).
Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that “there is a real need to evaluate new strategies to reduce the rate of MABT during CRS/HIPEC.”
The procedures in the study were performed from 1996 to 2016. The in-hospital mortality rate was 0.3% in patients who did not have MABT but 4.4% among the 337 patients (36%) who did. Even after adjusting for confounders on multivariate analysis, including the fact that MABT patients had more extensive disease and longer surgeries, MABT significantly increased the risk of in-hospital mortality (relative risk, 7.72; P = .021). In patients requiring MABT had a 5-year survival of 5%. In patients not requiring MABT, 5-year survival was at 36%. The difference remained significant on multivariate analysis.
MABT patients also had twice the risk of life-threatening complications and complications requiring surgical, endoscopic, or radiological intervention (62% versus 30%; RR, 2.05; P less than .001). MABT patients were more likely to stay in the ICU for 4 or more days and in the hospital for 28 or more days.
Worse overall survival with MABT was driven at least in part by patients who had CRS/HIPEC for colorectal cancer peritoneal carcinomatosis and pseudomyxoma peritonei. MABT did not seem to contribute to lower survival in patients who had the procedure for appendiceal or ovarian cancer. “It seems that the impact of long-term immunomodulation induced by blood transfusion” – the suspected mechanism through which transfusions cause problems – “varies according to the disease subtype. This warrants further investigation,” the investigators said.
Several strategies have been tried to reduce the need for transfusions during CRS/HIPEC. The study team previously reported that preemptive clotting factor replacement helps. Others have had success with preemptive tranexamic acid and cryoprecipitate to address low serum fibrinogen levels during CRS/HIPEC. “Further evaluation of both these strategies is warranted,” the researchers said.
Funding source and disclosure information were not included in the study report.