Background: The learning curves for cytoreductive surgery with intraperitoneal chemotherapy for treatment of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) were explored between international centres/surgeons to identify institutional or other factors that might affect performance.
Methods: Data from patients with PMP treated with the combined procedure across 33 international centres between 1993 and 2012 were analysed retrospectively. A risk-adjusted sequential probability ratio test was conducted after defining the target outcome as early oncological failure (disease progression within 2 years of treatment), an acceptable risk for the target outcome (odds ratio) of 2, and type I/II error rates of 5 per cent. The risk prediction model was elaborated and patients were evaluated sequentially for each centre/surgeon. The learning curve was considered to be overcome and proficiency achieved when the odds ratio for early oncological failure became smaller than 2.
Results: Rates of optimal cytoreduction, severe postoperative morbidity and early oncological failure were 84·4, 25·7 and 29·0 per cent respectively. The median annual centre volume was 17 (range 6-66) peritoneal malignancies. Only eight of the 33 centres and six of 47 surgeons achieved proficiency after a median of 100 (range 78-284) and 96 (86-284) procedures respectively. The most important institutional factor affecting surgical performance was centre volume.
Conclusion: The learning curve is extremely long, so centralization and/or networking of centres is necessary to assure quality of services. One centre for every 10-15 million inhabitants would be ideal.