anesthesiology, kyoto prefectural university of medicine

Anesthesia in patients with cancer disorders

Purpose of review: Along with the increasing population of elderly people in developed countries, anesthesiologists have increasing opportunities to anesthetize cancer patients in their routine work. However, no guideline of anesthesia procedures for cancer patients is available even though guidelines of operative procedures have been formulated for different types of cancer. This review provides recent findings related to the optimal choice of anesthetics and adequate anesthesia management for cancer patients.
Recent findings: The intrinsic weapon fighting cancer cells is competent immune cells, particularly CD4+ T helper 1-type cells, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, and natural killer cells. However, surgical inflammation, some anesthetics, and inadvertent anesthesia management suppress these effector cells and induce suppressive immune cells, which render cancer patients susceptible to tumor recurrence and metastasis after surgery.
Summary: Accumulated basic and clinical data suggest that total intravenous anesthesia with propofol, cyclooxygenase antagonists, and regional anesthesia can decrease negative consequences associated with perioperative immunosuppression. Volatile anesthesia, systemic morphine administration, unnecessary blood transfusions, intraoperative hypoxia, hypotension, hypothermia, and hyperglycemia should be avoided.