Knock­out gas could drive risk of can­cer

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - GRANT MCARTHUR

Af­ter look­ing around at venues, Michael said ‘what about a theme park?’ and by the end of the week they were booked in at Movie World.

“We’re not re­ally con­ven­tional I guess,” Ms Mu­rakami joked.

The Sun­day Mail also gath­ered wed­ding pic­tures of Matthew and Sarah Burgess, the first cou­ple to tie the knot on South Bank’s Bris­bane Wheel.

Other cou­ples cel­e­brated their night with in­spi­ra­tions from their favourite book/ movie, with a Harry Pot­terthemed wed­ding where the grooms­men car­ried wands, to daz­zling on the dance­floor in a Great Gatsby wed­ding. One cou­ple recre­ated the blue door im­age in their Doc­tor Whothemed wed­ding. FEARS that drugs used dur­ing can­cer surgery may be caus­ing dis­eases to re­turn have prompted a ma­jor study into anaes­thetic gas.

With Aus­tralian can­cer pa­tients un­der­go­ing more than 300,000 op­er­a­tions with the use of anaes­thetic each year, Mel­bourne re­searchers will lead an in­ter­na­tional study that is likely to change sur­gi­cal strate­gies world­wide.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has backed the Peter MacCal­lum Can­cer Cen­tre re­search af­ter a re­view of can­cer cases found a sig­nif­i­cantly higher rate of the dis­ease re­cur­ring among pa­tients anaes­thetised by in­hal­ing gas than those un­der in­tra­venous anaes­thetic.

The alarm is be­ing fur­ther sounded by a Mel­bourne study that found mice treated with gas anaes­thetic had a much greater chance of their can­cer re­turn­ing than those se­dated via an in­tra­venous drip.

With 80 per cent of Aus­tralian and New Zealand anaes­thetists pre­fer­ring the decades­old “volatile” gases rather than the newer in­tra­venous drug propo­fol, chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor Pro­fes­sor Bern­hard Riedel said it was vi­tal the long-term im­pact was bet­ter un­der­stood.

“We sus­pect that th­ese volatiles may drive can­cer re­cur­rence,” Prof Riedel said.

“The prop­er­ties of th­ese volatiles are pro-in­flam­ma­tory, pro-anogenic, im­mune­sup­pres­sant, and it may add fuel to the fire rather than help with the stress of the surgery.”

Surgery re­mains the most com­mon treat­ment for can­cer, with eight out of 10 pa­tients ex­posed to an anaes­thetic, in­clud­ing 60 per cent who have it as their pri­mary treat­ment.

While the surgery is es­sen­tial to re­move many can­cers the trauma pro­duces an in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse.

Prof Riedel said the use of tra­di­tional gas anaes­the­sia may be in­tro­duc­ing a drug that sup­presses the im­mune sys­tem, al­low­ing any mi­cro­scopic left over sec­tions of tu­mour to grow.

Un­der a $4.8 mil­lion Na­tional Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil grant, Prof Riedel will lead re­searchers from Aus­tralia, the US, UK, Ire­land and other na­tions to set up a five-year study of 5700 pa­tients un­der­go­ing can­cer surgery, to de­ter­mine if the in­tra­venous drug propo­fol is safer.

Sup­ported by the Royal Aus­tralian and New Zealand Col­lege of Anaes­thetists, the study will also ex­am­ine the use of in­tra­venous treat­ment li­do­caine to de­ter­mine if the two drugs can re­duce can­cer pro­gres­sion af­ter surgery.

Al­though ret­ro­spec­tive stud­ies also show a spike in can­cer re­cur­rence 18 months and 36 months af­ter surgery among pa­tients anaes­thetised with gas, Prof Riedel said the find­ings were not yet strong enough to change guide­lines.

“My clin­i­cal prac­tise has al­tered, but the greater com­mu­nity’s prac­tise has not,” he said. “If the sig­nal is def­i­nitely there and it is strong we will make sure it is dis­sem­i­nated glob­ally.”

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