Context: Differences in recovery, oncological, and quality of life (QoL) outcomes between open radical cystectomy (ORC) and robot-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) for patients with bladder cancer are unclear.
Objective: This review aims to compare these outcomes within randomized trials of ORC and RARC in this context. The primary outcome was the rate of 90-d perioperative events. The secondary outcomes included operative, pathological, survival, and health-related QoL (HRQoL) measures.
Evidence acquisition: Systematic literature searches of MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and clinicaltrials.gov were performed up to May 31, 2022.
Evidence synthesis: Eight trials, reporting 1024 participants, were included. RARC was associated with a shorter hospital length of stay (LOS; mean difference [MD] 0.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.03–0.39, p = 0.02) than and similar complication rates to ORC. ORC was associated with higher thromboembolic events (odds ratio [OR] 1.84, 95% CI 1.02–3.31, p = 0.04). ORC was associated with more blood loss (MD 322 ml, 95% CI 193–450, p < 0.001) and transfusions (OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.65–3.36, p < 0.001), but shorter operative time (MD 76 min, 95% CI 39–112, p < 0.001) than RARC. No differences in lymph node yield (MD 1.07, 95% CI –1.73 to 3.86, p = 0.5) or positive surgical margin rates (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.54–1.67, p = 0.9) were present. RARC was associated with better physical functioning or well-being (standardized MD 0.47, 95% CI 0.29–0.65, p < 0.001) and role functioning (MD 8.8, 95% CI 2.4–15.1, p = 0.007), but no improvement in overall HRQoL. No differences in progression-free survival or overall survival were seen. Limitations may include a lack of generalization given trial patients.
Conclusions: RARC offers various perioperative benefits over ORC. It may be more suitable in patients wishing to avoid blood transfusion, those wanting a shorter LOS, or those at a high risk of thromboembolic events.
Patient summary: This study compares robot-assisted keyhole surgery with open surgery for bladder cancer. The robot-assisted approach offered less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and fewer blood clots. No other differences were seen.
- Bladder cancer
- Open radical cystectomy
- Quality of life
- Radical cystectomy
- Robot-assisted radical cystectomy
- Robotic surgery