A trial looking at keyhole surgery for bowel cancer (CLASICC)

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Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer




Phase 3

This trial compared keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery with standard open surgery for bowel (colorectal) cancer.

When this trial was done, surgery for bowel cancer was usually ‘open surgery’. This involves making a cut in the abdomen (tummy). ‘Keyhole surgery’ is done through much smaller cuts in the abdomen. The surgeon uses a camera (laparoscope) to see inside the body to remove the cancer. Although the keyhole operation takes longer than open surgery, patients don’t spend as long recovering and there are fewer side effects.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • If keyhole surgery is safe
  • If keyhole surgery is as useful as open surgery at stopping cancer from coming back
  • More about side effects and quality of life

Summary of results

The researchers found that keyhole surgery is as useful as open surgery for all stages of bowel cancer.

The trial recruited 794 patients with bowel cancer

  • A third had open surgery
  • Two thirds had keyhole surgery

The researchers looked at whose cancer had come back, how many people were alive 3 years after treatment and quality of life. They found no difference between the 2 treatment groups.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor PJ Guillou

Supported by

Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 144

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Alan took part in a clinical trial for bowel cancer patients

A picture of ALan

“I think it’s essential that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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