Minimally invasive surgery for gastric cancer in Brazil: current status and perspectives—a report from the Brazilian Laparoscopic Oncologic Gastrectomy Group (BLOGG)
The minimally invasive surgery for gastric cancer in Brazil has begun about two years after the first laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) performed by Kitano in Japan, in 1991. Although the report of first surgeries shows the year of 1993, there was no dissemination of the technique until the years 2010. At that time with the improvement of optical devices, laparoscopic instruments and with the publications coming from Asia, several Brazilian surgeons felt encouraged to go to Korea and Japan to learn the standardization of the LG. After that there was a significant increase in that type of surgery, especially after the IRCAD opened a branch in Brazil. The growing interest for the subject led some services to begin their own experience with the LG and, since the beginning, the results were similar with those found in the open surgery. Nevertheless, there were some differences with the papers published initially in Japan and Korea. In those countries, the surgeries were laparoscopic assisted, meaning that, in the majority of cases, the anastomoses were done through a mini-incision in the end of the procedure. In Brazil since the beginning it was performed completely through laparoscopic approach due to the skills acquired by Brazilian surgeons in bariatric surgeries. Another difference was the stage. While in the east the majority of cases were done in T1 patients, in Brazil, probably due to the lack of early cases, the surgeries were done also in advanced cases. The initial experience of Zilberstein et al. revealed low rates of morbidity without mortality. Comparing laparoscopic and open surgery, the group from Barretos/IRCAD showed shorter surgical time (216×255 minutes), earlier oral or enteral feeding and earlier hospital discharge, with a smaller number of harvested lymph nodes (28 in laparoscopic against 33 in open surgery). There was no significant difference regarding morbidity, mortality and reoperation rate. In the first efforts to publish a multicentric study the Brazilian Gastric Cancer Association (BGCA) collected data from three institutions analyzing 148 patients operated from 2006 to 2016. There were 98 subtotal, 48 total and 2 proximal gastrectomies. The anastomoses were totally laparoscopic in 105, laparoscopic assisted in 21, cervical in 2, and 20 open (after conversion). The reconstruction methods were: 142 Roux-en-Y, two Billroth I, and three other types. The conversion rate was 13.5% (20/148). The D2 dissection was performed in 139 patients. The mean number of harvested lymph nodes was 34.4. If we take only the D2 cases the mean number was 39.5. The morbidity rate was 22.3%. The mortality was 2.7%. The stages were: IA—59, IB—14, IIA—11, IIB—15, IIIA—9, IIIB—19, IIIC—11 and stage IV—three cases. Four patients died from the disease and 10 are alive with disease. The participating services have already begun the robotic gastrectomy with satisfactory results. The intention of this group is to begin now a prospective multicentric study to confirm the data already obtained with the retrospective studies.