Francesco Carli, Guillaume Bousquet-Dion, Rashami Awasthi, Noha Elsherbini, Sender Liberman , Marylise Boutros, Barry Stein , Patrick Charlebois, Gabriela Ghitulescu, Nancy Morin, Thomas Jagoe , Celena Scheede-Bergdahl, Enrico Maria Minnella , Julio F Fiore Jr
JAMA Surg 2020 Jan 22 [On line ahead of print]
Importance: Research supports use of prehabilitation to optimize physical status before and after colorectal cancer resection, but its effect on postoperative complications remains unclear. Frail patients are a target for prehabilitation interventions owing to increased risk for poor postoperative outcomes.
Objective: To assess the extent to which a prehabilitation program affects 30-day postoperative complications in frail patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection compared with postoperative rehabilitation.
Design, setting, and participants: This single-blind, parallel-arm, superiority randomized clinical trial recruited patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection from September 7, 2015, through June 19, 2019. Patients were followed up for 4 weeks before surgery and 4 weeks after surgery at 2 university-affiliated tertiary hospitals. A total of 418 patients 65 years or older were assessed for eligibility. Of these, 298 patients were excluded (not frail [n = 290], unable to exercise [n = 3], and planned neoadjuvant treatment [n = 5]), and 120 frail patients (Fried Frailty Index,≥2) were randomized. Ten patients were excluded after randomization because they refused surgery (n = 3), died before surgery (n = 3), had no cancer (n = 1), had surgery without bowel resection (n = 1), or were switched to palliative care (n = 2). Hence, 110 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis (55 in the prehabilitation [Prehab] and 55 in the rehabilitation [Rehab] groups). Data were analyzed from July 25 through August 21, 2019.
Interventions: Multimodal program involving exercise, nutritional, and psychological interventions initiated before (Prehab group) or after (Rehab group) surgery. All patients were treated within a standardized enhanced recovery pathway.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome included the Comprehensive Complications Index measured at 30 days after surgery. Secondary outcomes were 30-day overall and severe complications, primary and total length of hospital stay, 30-day emergency department visits and hospital readmissions, recovery of walking capacity, and patient-reported outcome measures.
Results: Of 110 patients randomized, mean (SD) age was 78 (7) years; 52 (47.3%) were men and 58 (52.7%) were women; 31 (28.2%) had rectal cancer; and 87 (79.1%) underwent minimally invasive surgery. There was no between-group difference in the primary outcome measure, 30-day Comprehensive Complications Index (adjusted mean difference, -3.2; 95% CI, -11.8 to 5.3; P = .45). Secondary outcome measures were also not different between groups.
Conclusions and relevance: In frail patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection (predominantly minimally invasive) within an enhanced recovery pathway, a multimodal prehabilitation program did not affect postoperative outcomes. Alternative strategies should be considered to optimize treatment of frail patients preoperatively.