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Original Investigation
September 1, 2021

Short-term Outcomes of Robotic Gastrectomy vs Laparoscopic Gastrectomy for Patients With Gastric Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Second Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan
  • 2Department of Gastrointestinal and Pediatric Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Mie, Japan
JAMA Surg. 2021;156(10):954-963. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.3182
Key Points

Question  Does robotic gastrectomy for resectable gastric cancer reduce the incidence of intra-abdominal infectious complications compared with laparoscopic gastrectomy?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial of 241 patients with gastric cancer, the primary end point of reducing intra-abdominal infectious complications with robotic gastrectomy was not met. Secondary end point results showed good short-term surgical outcomes in both the laparoscopic gastrectomy group and the robotic gastrectomy group.

Meaning  This study suggests that robotic gastrectomy for patients with gastric cancer is unable to reduce postoperative intra-abdominal complications.


Importance  Robotic gastrectomy (RG) for gastric cancer may be associated with decreased incidence of intra-abdominal infectious complications, including pancreatic fistula, leakage, and abscess. Prospective randomized clinical trials comparing laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) and RG are thus required.

Objective  To compare the short-term surgical outcomes of RG with those of LG for patients with gastric cancer.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this phase 3, prospective superiority randomized clinical trial of RG vs LG regarding reduction of complications, 241 patients with resectable gastric cancer (clinical stages I-III) were enrolled between April 1, 2018, and October 31, 2020.

Interventions  LG vs RG.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary end point was the incidence of postoperative intra-abdominal infectious complications. Secondary end points were incidence of any complications, surgical results, postoperative courses, and oncologic outcomes. The modified intention-to-treat population excluded patients who had been randomized and met the postrandomization exclusion criteria. There was also a per-protocol population for analysis of postoperative complications.

Results  This study enrolled 241 patients, with 236 patients in the modified intention-to-treat population (150 men [63.6%]; mean [SD] age, 70.8 [10.7] years). There was no significant difference in the incidence of intra-abdominal infectious complications (per-protocol population: 10 of 117 [8.5%] in the LG group vs 7 of 113 [6.2%] in the RG group). Of 241 patients, 122 were randomly assigned to the LG group, and 119 patients were randomly assigned to the RG group. Two of the 122 patients (1.6%) in the LG group converted from LG to open surgery, and 4 of 119 patients (3.4%) in the RG group converted from RG to open or laparoscopic surgery, with no significant difference. Finally, 117 patients in the LG group completed the procedure, and 113 in the RG group completed the procedure; these populations were defined as the per-protocol population. The overall incidence of postoperative complications of grade II or higher was significantly higher in the LG group (23 [19.7%]) than in the RG group (10 [8.8%]) (P = .02). Even in analysis limited to grade IIIa or higher, the complication rate was still significantly higher in the LG group (19 [16.2%]) than in the RG group (6 [5.3%]) (P = .01).

Conclusions and Relevance  This study found no reduction of intra-abdominal infectious complications with RG compared with LG for gastric cancer.

Trial Registration  umin.ac.jp/ctr Identifier: UMIN000031536

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