Anti-inflammatory use during surgery may lead to improved outcomes for cancer patients

The world's first clinical trial (SURGUVANT) evaluating anti-inflammatory use at the time of surgery in colon cancer patients to improve their cancer outcome has been published in scientific journal, BMC Cancer.

The research successfully tested an anti-inflammatory agent with anti-cancer properties known as 'Taurolidine' in the SURGUVANT trial which was funded by a grant from Geistlich Pharma AG, Wolhusen, Switzerland. The research was undertaken by researchers at RCSI in Dublin in collaboration with the Cork University Hospital group, University College Cork, Mercy University Hospital and the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork led by Professor Paul Redmond, RCSI Council member and Chair of Surgery at Cork University Hospital and Mr Peter O'Leary, CUH Department of Surgery.

The Surguvant trial examined a link between surgical inflammation and the recurrence of cancer. The trial randomized patients undergoing surgery for colon cancer to either a placebo or 2% Taurolidine solution. The trial reported that important components of the inflammatory response to surgery that have been shown to propagate tumor cell growth, can be attenuated successfully without compromising patient safety.

"We are delighted that this important clinical trial could be performed in Ireland. The Surguvant trial is the first of its kind to be performed worldwide showing that it is safe to use Taurolidine in this critical period of time for cancer patients where they are exposed to an inflammatory response necessary for wound healing but which can be potentially detrimental to their cancer outcome," said Professor Redmond. "Now that we have proven the safety of this treatment strategy, it remains to be demonstrated if targeting the inflammatory response to surgery will lead to improved outcomes for cancer patients. We hope to do this in much larger future trials."

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