UCD research finds anaesthesia type may affect cancer recurrence

Thursday 10 July 2014 14.49
The researchers say the laboratory results are not conclusive and that definitive trials are needed
The researchers say the laboratory results are not conclusive and that definitive trials are needed

The type of anaesthesia used during breast cancer surgery could affect the risk of cancer recurrence, according to new research from University College Dublin.

Tests indicate that morphine-based pain relief could influence the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.

The research, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia,  involved taking blood before and after surgery, from breast cancer patients, who had been given different types of anaesthetic pain relief.

The team from UCD found that the type of anaesthesia used during breast cancer surgery could affect the risk of cancer recurrence.

Tests indicate that morphine-based pain relief could influence the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.

The study looked at patients given standard, inhaled general anaesthetics, with morphine-based pain relief; and regional breast numbing techniques, with a single intravenous general anaesthetic called propofol.

In patients given standard inhaled general anaesthetics with morphine, the natural death of cancer cells was reduced.

The researchers say the laboratory results are not conclusive and that definitive trials are needed.