Surgery (St Vincent's) - Theses
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ItemColorectal cancer in rural regional AustraliaNg, Suat Chin ( 2017)Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second commonest cancer in Australia. The survival outcome of colorectal cancer patients within Australia is reported to vary with population density and between health services, with some literature showing poorer prognosis in rural regional and remote patients. Chapter one aims to outline some key issues in CRC such as epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, and outcome whilst chapter two aims to present a systematic review of how geographical disparity influences CRC survival. There are many potential factors that contribute to a poorer prognosis in rural regional CRC patients though the literature is limited, and at times, inconsistent. Thus, there is a need for regular audit, reporting and benchmarking of outcomes in CRC patients against agreed standards. I reviewed the long-term outcomes of CRC at Barwon Health, which serves the South West Victoria, a region with a population of some 500,000. My aim was to determine whether changes introduced to the management of CRC translated into improved survival after surgery. The literature to date has suggested that patients living in rural and regional Australia (grouped together) have worse colorectal cancer survival rates than those living in metropolitan Australia. This thesis was based on a prospectively maintained registry kept over a period of thirteen years from 2002 to 2014, that had accumulated 1079 patients who had undergone surgery at the University Hospital Geelong for CRC (744 colon cancers and 335 rectal cancers). The overall number of operations per year increased over time (p=0.037) but with similar proportions of elective and emergency surgery (p=0.75) and tumour stage (P=0.21). This lack of change in the proportion of elective cases was in spite of the Federal Government introducing a National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006. The proportion of patients with severe comorbidities did increase (p=0.015) over the study period. The median survival after surgery by stage was 123 months, 141 months, 76 months and 17 months for stages I to IV CRC respectively. Overall, there were improvements observed in both peri-operative mortality (POMR) (p=0.028) and long- term survival (p=0.0025) of CRC patients in this major regional centre. I then reviewed the outcome of patients with metastatic disease. The Geelong database included 843 patients who had undergone resection and primary anastomosis for their primary tumour (661 colon cancers, 182 rectal cancers). Metastatic disease was present in 16% (135 patients) and was associated with an increased risk of anastomotic leakage (13% vs. 5%, p=0.003) and a higher peri- operative mortality rate (9.6% vs. 2.8%, p=0.0003). Patients with anastomotic leakage had a reduction in the overall survival (121 months vs. 66 months, p=0.02). The fifth chapter aimed to perform a regional study to identify patients with colorectal cancer at higher risk of developing metastatic disease. There were 503 patients (345 colon and 158 rectal) with non-metastatic (stage I-III) CRC who had resections and were followed up for at least five years. Metastatic progression was, as expected, significantly higher for patients with stage III disease (aHR 4.42 for colon cancer 95% CI 1.74 to 11.23, aHR 3.34 for rectal cancer 95% CI 1.36 to 8.22), and those with lymphovascular invasion (aHR 2.94 95% CI 1.70 to 5.06). Metastatic disease was also more likely to eventuate in those with severe comorbidities (aHR 2.18, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.86), and in colon cancer patients with the lowest socioeconomic status (aHR 2.03 95% CI 1.23 to 3.34). Gender, tumour location and geographical location (rural or regional) was not associated with metastatic progression. Before determining surveillance strategies targeting higher-risk patient groups in regional Victoria, these findings would require confirmation from similar studies in other regions of rural/regional Victoria, such as Bendigo, Albury / Wodonga, Latrobe Valley, or Shepparton.
ItemRadiation-associated breast, thyroid and solid malignancies in patients attending the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Late Effects serviceKoo, Eva ( 2017)Background: Survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adulthood (CAYA) malignancies have an increased risk of subsequent primary malignancies, particularly after exposure to therapeutic radiation. The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Late Effects (PMCC LE) service provides individualize, multidisciplinary care and surveillance advice for survivors of malignancies, especially CAYA malignancies. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of patients exposed to therapeutic radiation attending the PMCC LE service from 1st January 2000 to 20th February 2013. All invasive malignancies, in-situ malignancies, benign tumours and deaths were evaluated. Separate time-to-event analyses was performed for radiation-associated breast, thyroid and solid malignancies in patients exposed to chest, thyroid and any therapeutic radiation respectively, measured from the date of first attendance to the PMCC LE service and stratified by the interval from completion of radiation to the first attendance. The incidence of breast and thyroid malignancies was compared to the Australian general population. Compliance with breast and thyroid surveillance recommendations was determined by assessing the number of screen events over the period of attendance to the service. Clinicopathological features and management of radiation-associated breast and thyroid and other solid malignancies was examined. Ultrasound and cytological workup of radiation exposed thyroid nodules was assessed. Results: After excluding 187 patients, 534 included patients developed 194 invasive malignancies; 147 were radiation-associated and 47 non-radiation associated. The most common malignancies were non-melanoma skin (37.1%), thyroid (17.0%) and breast (12.9%) malignancies. Patients whose first attendance was ≥15+ years after radiation exposure experienced the highest incidence of radiation-associated breast, thyroid and solid malignancies, with 23%, 8% and 27% affected after 10 years of subsequent follow-up respectively. The incidence of breast and thyroid malignancy was elevated 11.2 and 57.6 times respectively compared to the Australian general population (both p<0.001). Compliance with breast surveillance using mammography or any screening modality was observed in 18.4% and 28.6% of women at risk respectively. Twenty-eight radiation-associated breast malignancies occurred in 24 women (16.7% bilaterality). Breast malignancies diagnosed after the first attendance to the PMCC LE service were more likely screen-detected (p=0.002). Most were hormone receptor positive (87.5%), invasive ductal carcinomas (82.1%) managed with mastectomy (89.3%). Compliance with thyroid surveillance was observed in 76.9% of patients at risk. Ultrasound features of microcalcification and increased internal vascularity had a low sensitivity (62.5%) for predicting a malignant nodule, which improved when used in conjunction with a Bethesda IV-VI result (91.7%), although cytological assessment was not performed in 45.6% of operative cases. Thirty-three patients had a radiation-associated thyroid malignancy; 45.4% (n=15) were incidental. The majority were papillary thyroid cancers (88.9%); of which 12.5% were node positive and 34.4% were multifocal. Node positive thyroid cancers were more likely to present symptomatically (p=0.03). There were 36 deaths in the cohort (6.7%), most commonly attributable to radiation-associated malignancies (41.9%), especially brain, breast and sarcomatous malignancies. Conclusions: Patients attending the PMCC LE service have a high burden of subsequent malignancies that typically occur after a long latency. Ongoing long-term surveillance is essential and judicious management with adherence to guidelines is advocated in this unique population of patients.
ItemDefining lymphatic microstructure and the genetic basis of lipolymphedemaBendon, Charlotte Lucy ( 2017)The lymphatic system regulates tissue fluid homeostasis, intestinal fat absorption, and immune cell trafficing. Lymphedema is soft tissue swelling secondary to lymphatic dysfunction, which results in the accumulation of tissue fluid in the interstitial space. This might occur as a primary disorder of the developing lymphatic system, or alternatively lymphedema might be an acquired disorder secondary to lymphatic injury. For example, secondary lymphedema is a common problem following cancer and cancer treatments such as lymph node surgery and radiotherapy, resulting in significant morbidity. Radiotherapy is an established risk factor for lymphedema, and in addition to causing direct injury to the lymphatic vessel, it is possible that alternative mechanisms might also contribute to radiation‐induced lymphatic dysfunction, such as localized ischemia of the lymphatic wall. It is also likely that predisposing genetic risk factors are at play, as not all individuals exposed to the same risk factors will develop secondary lymphedema. Lipoedema is a different form of soft tissue swelling due to the abnormal accumulation of adipose tissue. Lipoedema and lymphatic dysfunction appear to be linked, as individuals frequently develop a degree of lymphedema, particularly as the condition progresses in severity, where it may be decribed as lipo‐lymphedema. The cause of lipoedema and the genetic basis of the condition are currently unknown. This thesis aims to discover and define alternative mechanisms for lymphtic dysfunction in the context of secondary lymphedema, particularly focussing on the supply of oxygenated blood to the lymphatic vessel wall. We also aim to describe inheritance patterns and the genetic factors involved in lipoedema and lipo‐lymphedema. Such knowledge might uncover therapeutic targets and facilitate the development of treatments for lymphedema and lipoedema, including gene therapy.