Editorial: Br J Surg
Lange MM, van Hilten JA, van de Watering LM, Bijnen BA, Roumen RM, Putter H, Brand A, van de Velde CJ, cooperative clinical investigators of the Cancer Recurrence And Blood Transfusion (CRAB) study and the Transfusion Associated Complications = Transfusion Induced Complications? (TACTIC) study.
BACKGROUND: Perioperative red blood cell (RBC) transfusion may be associated with a poor prognosis in cancer surgery. Allogeneic leucocytes are assumed to play a causal role. This study evaluated the long-term effect of transfusion with leucocyte-depleted (LD) blood in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. METHODS: The Transfusion Associated Complications = Transfusion Induced Complications? (TACTIC) study is a multicentre randomized controlled trial evaluating the short-term benefits of LD versus non-LD RBC transfusions. The present study evaluated 5-year survival and cancer recurrence among 512 patients with gastrointestinal cancer included in the TACTIC study. RESULTS: Some 89.2 per cent of patients had a primary tumour and 79.7 per cent underwent surgery with curative intent; 243 patients received perioperative RBC transfusion (median 3 units). The 5-year overall survival rate of patients with any type of gastrointestinal cancer was 50.8 per cent in the LD group and 45.8 per cent in the non-LD group (P = 0.191). Corresponding 5-year disease-free survival rates were 60.0 and 56.6 per cent (P = 0.482), and recurrence rates 32.9 and 34.3 per cent (P = 0.864). CONCLUSION: Leucocyte depletion is not associated with better long-term survival and lower recurrence rates in patients with gastrointestinal cancer.