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Colorectal Surgery Research

The Colorectal Unit is recognised as an international centre of excellence in the practice of coloproctology.

Our primary focus is on caring for our patients. Our other goals are training the next generation of colorectal nurses and surgeons and contributing clinically useful research to the colorectal community. Our interests include colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, proctology, pelvic floor disorders, intestinal failure and entero-cutaneous fistulae.

We have a strong commitment to teach undergraduate and postgraduate students, undertake and supervise research and co-ordinate activities of the University of Sydney. Over the last 25 years, the Colorectal Unit has attracted multiple surgeons for advanced surgical training from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France, USA, Singapore, Japan, Jordan, Israel and Iran.

Our Key Research Projects

  • Prehabilitation pathways, clinical and oncological outcomes, and sarcopenia in patients having elective colorectal cancer surgery
  • Virtual Care of Acute Diverticulitis (ICAD)
  • Quality of Life in patients after colorectal cancer surgery
  • Developing a unique liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer monitoring
  • Effect of sacral neuromodulation on colonic transit in faecal incontinence
  • Assessing lymphatic drainage of the splenic flexure by SPECT - A feasibility study
  • Sentinel lymph node assessment in colorectal cancer resection specimens: safety, feasibility and acceptability to the patient, surgeon and pathologist
  • Validation of the use of preoperative CT scans for the detection of tumour deposits and extramural venous invasion in staging patients who have had an elective sigmoid cancer resection
  • The validation of protein biosignatures for predicting tumour recurrence in patients who have had a resection for Stage II colorectal cancer to identify those at high risk of relapse from those who have had a curative resection and therefore not requiring additional postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy.

Our Collaborative Partners

  • Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • ANZAC Research Institute
  • Macquarie University
  • Western Sydney University and the Ingham Institute
  • Cabrini Department of Surgery, Monash University
  • Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Austin Health

Our Concord Hospital Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Database

In 1971, in collaboration with Head of Anatomical Pathology and members of the Colorectal Unit established the Concord Hospital Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Database. In 2021, the department celebrated 50 years of uninterrupted, comprehensive, prospective, computerised documentation of some 6,150 patients who had a resection for primary colorectal cancer at Concord Hospital to the end of December 2020.

Initially, patients operated on by all surgeons at Concord were entered into the database, however since 1981, with the formation of specialist units, only those patients operated by members of the Colorectal Unit have been entered into the study.  Importantly, since 1971, the Department of Anatomical Pathology has maintained an archival library of tissue blocks of all tumour specimens together with over 40 variables of pathology information on each and every patient entered into the Registry.

In 2003, a Biobank was established to collect and store fresh tissue suitable for molecular genetics and proteomic research and the capability to perform large-scale tissue microarray studies was included in 2006. In 2017, the Registry successfully renewed its ethics approval for a further 5 years from both the Sydney Local Health District and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.  It remains a long-term, continuing, prospective study of patients designed to study the natural history of colorectal cancer. 

The database remains fully operational with the assistance of Clinical Associate Professor Charles Chan (Anatomical Pathology), Conjoint Professor/research affiliate Dr Owen Dent (biostatistician) and Ms Gael Sinclair (database manager). To 2016, this Registry has produced over 200 peer-reviewed publications in the medical press, together with 7 higher doctorates/or PhD theses including one MS by research. It encourages nationwide collaboration with other research departments. The database has permitted an in depth, longitudinal study of the natural history of CRC with the emphasis on patient audit, assessing different operations and surgical techniques, different treatment algorithms, diagnostic and staging studies, assessment of potential biomarkers, selective use of adjuvant therapies, comparison of end-results and counselling patients and their families. None of this would be possible without the support and commitment of Hospital Management, the surgeons, nurses and allied health staff of the Colorectal Unit and the Department of Anatomical Pathology, Concord Hospital.

Our Research Team

Associate Professor Matt Rickard Head of Department, Clinical Academic
Professor Emeritus Pierre Chapuis Colorectal Surgeon
Professor Anil Keshava Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Rebecca Lendzio Surgical Superintendent
Associate Professor Peter Stewart Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Michael Suen Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Henry Cheung Colorectal Surgeon, Lecturer
Dr Kheng Seong Ng Colorectal Surgeon, Senior Lecturer
Dr Mifanwy Reece Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Philip Chia Masters student
Dr Joseph Dusseldorp PhD student
Dr Matthew Jones PhD student
Dr Sireesha Koneru Masters student
Dr Krishanth Naidu PhD student
Dr Edward Stanley PhD student
Dr Pearl Wong Masters student

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
$1,106,974 NHMRC, 2023-2027
Pathway of Low Anterior Resection Syndrome Relief after Surgery (POLARiS) trial.
Investigators: Ng KS, Solomon M.
$50,000 ANZAC Research Institute, 2023
Liquid biopsy for post-surgical monitoring of Colorectal Cancer.
Investigator: Ng KS.
$41,000 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 2022
Eric Bishop Foundation of Surgery Scholarship.
Investigator: Naidu K.
$25,000 Medtronic, 2022
Medtronic Research Scholarship.
InInvestigator: Naidu K.
$20,000 Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2022
Effect of sacral neuromodulation on colonic transit in faecal incontinence.
Investigators: Ng KS, Solomon M.

Our Publications

2022

Balasuriya HD, Keshava A. Abdominal actinomycosis mimicking metastatic right colonic cancer: a diagnostic dilemma. ANZ J Surg. 92(5):1275-1276, 2022 05.
Bhamidipaty M, Naidu K, Keshava A, Rickard MJFX. Splenic Flexure Mobilization: Lesser Sac Via Transverse Mesocolon Technique. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 65(8):e819-e820, 2022 08 01.
Bhamidipaty M, Rickard MJFX.  An ileal conduit retroperitoneal-pexy: An novel operative technique to treat the rare colonic internal hernia. ANZ J Surg. 92(3):586-587, 2022 03.
Koneru S, Reece M, Goonawardhana D, Chapuis P, et al.  Right hemicolectomy anastomotic leak study: a review of right hemicolectomy in the binational clinical outcomes registry (BCOR)-ANZ J Surg (2023) doi:10.1111/ans.18337.
Naidu K, Chapuis PH, Brown K, Chan C, et al. Splenic flexure cancer survival: a 25 year experience and implications for complete mesocolic excision ( CME ) and central vascular ligation ( CVL.  ANZ J Surg (2023) doi: 10. 1111/ans. 18434.
Newland R, Ng K-S, Chapuis P, Chan C, Dent O. The association between tumour sub-site and local nodal and/or distant metastasis at the time of resection of colorectal cancer: A prospective study of 3,360 consecutive cases. Human Pathology, 2022, 126, 121-28.
Ng KS, Dent OF, Chan C, Newland RC, Keshava A, Stewart P, Rickard MJFX, Chapuis PH. Apical Node Involvement Does Not Influence Prognosis After Potentially Curative Resection for Stage III Colorectal Cancer: A Competing Risks Analysis. Annals of Surgery. 276(1):e24-e31, 2022 07 01.
Stanley EA, Hill B, McKenzie DP, Chapuis P, Galea MP, van Zyl N. Predicting strength outcomes for upper limb nerve transfer surgery in tetraplegia. JHS (E) (European Volume) 2022, 1-7.
Suen M, Liew A, Turner JD, Khatri S, Lin Y, Raso KL, Vardy JL.  Short-term multimodal prehabilitation improves functional capacity for colorectal cancer patients prior to surgery. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. 18(2):e103-e110, 2022 Apr.