Background: Most studies showing a volume outcome effect in resection surgery for oesophago-gastric cancer were conducted before the centralisation of clinical services. This study evaluated the relation between hospital- and surgeon volume and different risk-adjusted outcomes after oesophago-gastric (OG) cancer surgery in England between 2011 and 2013. Methods: In data from the National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit from the UK, multivariable random-effects logistic regression models were used to quantify the effect of surgeon and hospital volume on three outcomes: 30-day and 90-day mortality and anastomotic leakage. The models included patient risk factors to adjust for differences in case-mix among hospitals and surgeons. The between-cluster heterogeneity was estimated with the median odds ratio (MOR). Results: The study included patients treated at 42 hospitals and 329 surgeons. The median (interquartile range) of the annual hospital and surgeon volumes were 110 patients (82 to 137) and 13 patients (8 to 19), respectively. The overall rates for 30-day and 90-day mortality were 2.3% and 4.4% respectively, and the anastomotic leakage was 6.3%. Higher hospital volume was associated with lower 30-day mortality (OR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.91–0.98) and lower anastomotic leakage rates (OR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.93–0.98) but not 90-day mortality. Higher surgeon volume was only associated with lower anastomotic leakage rates (OR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.72–0.92). Hospital volume explained a part of the between-hospital variation in 30-day mortality whereas surgeon volume explained part of the between-hospital variation in anastomotic leakage. Conclusions: In the setting of centralized O-G cancer surgery in England, we could still observe an effect of volume on short-term outcomes. However, the effect is inconsistent, depending on the type of outcome measure under consideration, and much smaller than in previous studies. Efforts to centralise O-G cancer services further should carefully address the effects of both hospital and surgeon volume on the range of outcome measures that are relevant to patients.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Fischer, C, Lingsma, H.F, Klazinga, N.S, Hardwick, R.H, Cromwell, D.A, Steyerberg, E.W, & Groene, O. (Oliver). (2017). Volume-outcome revisited: The effect of hospital and surgeon volumes on multiple outcome measures in oesophago-gastric cancer surgery. PLoS ONE, 12(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183955