February 2, 2023
Cao and colleagues present a follow-up analysis of a previous RCT among >1200 older adults (mean age 72 yr) undergoing cancer surgery, originally designed to evaluate the effect of propofol or sevoflurane general anaesthesia on delirium, here to evaluate the effect of anaesthetic technique on overall survival and recurrence-free survival. Neither anaesthetic technique conferred an advantage on oncological outcomes. We suggest that although it is entirely plausible that the observed results are truly robust neutral findings, the present study could be limited, like most published studies in the field, by its heterogeneity and understandable absence of underlying individual patient-specific tumour genomic data. We argue for a precision oncology approach to onco-anaesthesiology research that recognises that cancer is not one but rather many diseases and that tumour genomics (and multi-omics) is a fundamental determinant relating drugs to longer-term outcomes.
Keywords: anaesthesia; cancer; multi-omics; precision oncology; recurrence; transcriptomics; tumour genomics