The Cancer Hub Approach for Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic: Outcomes from a UK Cancer Centre.
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BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused unprecedented disruption to global healthcare delivery. In England, the majority of elective surgery was postponed or cancelled to increase intensive care capacity. Our unit instituted the 'RM Partners Cancer Hub' at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, to deliver ongoing cancer surgery in a 'COVID-lite' setting. This article describes the operational set-up and outcomes for upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer resections performed during this period. METHODS: From April 2020 to April 2021, the Royal Marsden Hospital formed the RM Partners Cancer Hub. This approach was designed to coordinate resources and provide as much oncological treatment as feasible for patients across the RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance. A UGI surgical case prioritisation strategy, along with strict infection control pathways and pre-operative screening protocols, was adopted. RESULTS: A total of 231 patients underwent surgery for confirmed or suspected UGI cancer during the RM Partners Cancer Hub, with 213 completed resections and combined 90-day mortality rate of 3.5%. Good short-term survival outcomes were demonstrated with 2-year disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) for oesophageal (70.8% and 72.9%), gastric (66.7% and 83.3%) and pancreatic cancer resections (68.0% and 88.0%). One patient who developed perioperative COVID-19 during the RM Partners Cancer Hub operation made a full recovery with no lasting clinical sequelae. CONCLUSION: Our experience demonstrates that the RM Partners Cancer Hub approach is a safe strategy for continuing upper gastrointestinal (GI) resectional surgery during future periods of healthcare service disruption.
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
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Annals of Surgical Oncology, 2022,