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Colorectal Surgery Research

The Colorectal Department has created a foundation in evidence-based practice through their close ties to the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), established in 2002. Through this multidisciplinary collaboration within the Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney, the Department's research agenda addresses diverse aspects of surgical outcomes, including surgical effectiveness, patient reported outcomes and quality of life, patterns of care and evidence-based practice, health economic evaluation, assessment of patient preferences, surgical decision-making and other methodological studies.

Over many years, the Department has become one of the major research-focused units. With support from over $30 million in competitive funding (including major funding bodies such as the NHMRC, MRFF, CINSW, NIHR and others) and a multi-disciplinary approach, the Department has published in many of the top surgical and medical journals, including NATURE, BMJ, JAMA surgery, Annals of Surgery, The British Journal of Surgery, Journal of Surgical Oncology and other high impact journals. Additionally, the Department is supportive of young academic surgeons, having assisted in the supervision of PhD and MPhil and MD students. These achievements have contributed significantly to the enhancement of patient outcomes and have changed clinical practice at RPA, Australia and Internationally.

Our Research Team

Associate Professor Chris Byrne Head of Department
Professor Michael Solomon Research Lead
Associate Professor Cherry Koh Research Lead
Dr Peter Lee Colorectal Surgeon, Masters Student
Dr Nabila Ansari Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Kirk Austin Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Kheng-Seong Ng Colorectal Surgeon
Associate Professor Jonathan Hong Colorectal Surgeon
Associate Professor Daniel Steffens SOuRCe Director
Sascha Karunaratne Advanced GI Surgery Program Manager
Mollie Pieniazek Pelvic Exenteration Research Officer
Jessica El-Hayek Pelvic Exenteration Research Officer
Henna Solanki Peritoneal Malignancy Research Officer
Lylee Ye Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Research Officer
Nicholas Hirst PRIORITY Research Officer
Ruby Cole PRIORITY Research Officer
Zirong Bai PhD Candidate
Dr Kilian Brown PhD Candidate
Dr Elizabeth Connolly PhD Candidate
Dr Celine Garrett Masters Student
Dr Hugh Giddings Masters Student
Dr Yeqian Huang PhD Candidate
Dr Charlotte Johnstone Masters Student
Dr Peter Lee Masters Student
Dr Pratik Raichurkar Masters Student
Dr Hang Yue Siu Masters Student
Dr Jacob Waller Masters Student
Kate Wilson PhD Candidate
Dr Philip Yang Masters Student

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
$4,995,331 Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), 2024-2029
Virtual Multimodal Hub for Patients Undergoing Major Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgery – PRIORITY-CONNECT 2 Randomised Type I Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Trial
Investigator: Steffens D (CI)
$1,119,877 NHMRC, 2020-2024
PRIORITY TRIAL - Preoperative exercise for patients undergoing major abdominal cancer surgery: A Multicentre Randomised Controlled Trial. 
Investigators: Young J, Solomon MJ, Riedel B, Steffens D, Morton R, Denehy L, Heriot A, Koh C, Li Q, Bauman A. 

Our Publications


Brown K, Solomon M, Ng KS, Sutton P, Koh C, White K, Steffens D; EviSurg Research Group. Development of a risk prediction tool for patients with locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer undergoing pelvic exenteration: protocol for a mixed-methods study. BMJ Open. 2023 Aug 30;13(8):e075304. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-075304.
Brown KGM, D'Souza N, Solomon MJ. How to access the presacral space using a posterior trans-sacral approach. ANZ J Surg. 2023 Dec;93(12):2993-2994. doi: 10.1111/ans.18750. Epub 2023 Oct 23.
Brown KGM, McBride KE, Anderson T, Solomon MJ. Delivering complex surgical services: lessons learned from the evolution of a specialised pelvic exenteration centre. Aust Health Rev. 2023 Dec;47(6):735-740. doi: 10.1071/AH23186.
Brown KGM, Risbey C, Solomon MJ, Austin KKS, Lee PJ, Byrne CM. Pelvic exenteration for chronic fistulating pelvic sepsis after multimodal treatment of pelvic malignancy. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2023 Dec;49(12):107124. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2023.107124. Epub 2023 Oct 20.
Brown KGM, Solomon MJ, Heriot A, Frizelle F. Treatment of locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer in Australia and New Zealand: recent progress and future challenges. ANZ J Surg. 2023 Oct;93(10):2291-2292. doi: 10.1111/ans.18635. Epub 2023 Jul 26.
Brown KGM, Solomon MJ, Steffens D, Ng KS, Byrne CM, Austin KKS, Lee PJ. Pelvic Exenteration for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Anus: Oncological, Morbidity, and Quality-of-Life Outcomes. Dis Colon Rectum. 2023 Nov 1;66(11):1427-1434. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000002919. Epub 2023 Jul 26.
Fitzsimmons T, Thomas M, Tonkin D, Murphy E, Hollington P, Solomon M, Sammour T, Luck A. Establishing a state-wide pelvic exenteration multidisciplinary team meeting in South Australia. ANZ J Surg. 2023 May;93(5):1227-1231. doi: 10.1111/ans.18220. Epub 2022 Dec 25.
Fullard K, Steffens D, Solomon M, Shin JS, Koh C. Measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on colorectal cancer presentation: a retrospective comparative study. ANZ J Surg. 2023 Dec;93(12):2951-2957. doi: 10.1111/ans.18701. Epub 2023 Oct 17.
Giddings HL, Ng KS, Solomon MJ, Steffens D, Van Buskirk J, Young J. Population outcomes, trends and the future of pouch surgery for ulcerative colitis: a 19-year New South Wales data linkage study. ANZ J Surg. 2023 Nov;93(11):2686-2696. doi: 10.1111/ans.18588. Epub 2023 Jul 14.
Giddings HL, Ng KS, Solomon MJ, Steffens D, Van Buskirk J, Young J. Reducing rate of total colectomies for ulcerative colitis but higher morbidity in the biologic era: an 18-year linked data study from New South Wales Australia. ANZ J Surg. 2023 Dec;93(12):2928-2938. doi: 10.1111/ans.18713. Epub 2023 Oct 5.
Greijdanus NG, Wienholts K, Ubels S, Talboom K, Hannink G, Wolthuis A, de Lacy FB, Lefevre JH, Solomon M, Frasson M, Rotholtz N, Denost Q, Perez RO, Konishi T, Panis Y, Rutegård M, Hompes R, Rosman C, van Workum F, Tanis PJ, de Wilt JHW; TENTACLE-Rectum Collaborative Group. Stoma-free Survival After Rectal Cancer Resection With Anastomotic Leakage: Development and Validation of a Prediction Model in a Large International Cohort. Ann Surg. 2023 Nov 1;278(5):772-780. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000006043. Epub 2023 Jul 27.
Harji DP, Koh C, McKigney N, Solomon MJ, Griffiths B, Evans M, Heriot A, Sagar PM, Velikova G, Brown JM. Development and validation of a patient reported outcome measure for health-related quality of life for locally recurrent rectal cancer: a multicentre, three-phase, mixed-methods, cohort study. EClinicalMedicine. 2023 May 17;59:101945. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.101945.
Jiang W, Koh C, Solomon M, Karunaratne S, Beckenkamp PR, Clifford K, Woodfield J, Steffens D. Time to Prioritise Quality Over Quantity in Prehabilitation Trials: A Literature Review. Eurasian Journal of Medicine and Oncology. 2023;7(3):287–303. DOI: 10.14744/ejmo.2023.14880.
Johnstone CS, Koh CE, Britton GJ, Solomon MJ, McLachlan AJ. Implementation of a peri-operative pain-management algorithm reduces the use of opioid analgesia following pelvic exenteration surgery. Colorectal Dis. 2023 Apr;25(4):631-639. doi: 10.1111/codi.16442. Epub 2022 Dec 28.
Johnstone CSH, Roberts D, Mathieson S, Steffens D, Koh CE, Solomon MJ, McLachlan AJ. Pain, pain management and related outcomes following pelvic exenteration surgery: a systematic review. Colorectal Dis. 2023 Apr;25(4):562-572. doi: 10.1111/codi.16462. Epub 2023 Jan 8.
Lim CYS, Laidsaar-Powell RC, Young JM, Steffens D, Ansari N, Joshy G, Butow P; advanced-CRC survivorship authorship group. Healthcare experiences of people with advanced colorectal cancer: A qualitative study. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2023 Apr;63:102265. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2022.102265. Epub 2023 Jan 2.
Makker PGS, Koh C, Steffens D. ASO Author Reflections: Pre-operative Function Status Predicts Post-operative Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intra-peritoneal Chemotherapy. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023 Jan;30(1):459-460. doi: 10.1245/s10434-022-12750-3. Epub 2022 Oct 28.
Makker PGS, Koh CE, Ansari N, Gonzaga N, Bartyn J, Solomon M, Steffens D. Functional Outcomes Following Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: A Prospective Cohort Study. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023 Jan;30(1):447-458. doi: 10.1245/s10434-022-12691-x. Epub 2022 Oct 28.
Palma CA, van Kessel CS, Solomon MJ, Leslie S, Jeffery N, Lee PJ, Austin KKS. Bladder preservation or complete cystectomy during pelvic exenteration of patients with locally advanced or recurrent rectal cancer, what should we do? Eur J Surg Oncol. 2023 Jul;49(7):1250-1257. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2023.01.002. Epub 2023 Jan 10.
PelvEx Collaborative. Empty pelvis syndrome: PelvEx Collaborative guideline proposal. Br J Surg. 2023 Nov 9;110(12):1730-1731. doi: 10.1093/bjs/znad301.
Raichurkar P, Denehy L, Solomon M, Koh C, Pillinger N, Hogan S, McBride K, Carey S, Bartyn J, Hirst N, Steffens D; Prehabilitation Expert Collaborative. Research Priorities in Prehabilitation for Patients Undergoing Cancer Surgery: An International Delphi Study. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023 Nov;30(12):7226-7235. doi: 10.1245/s10434-023-14192-x. Epub 2023 Aug 24.
Raichurkar P, Koh C, Steffens D. ASO Author Reflections: Future Directions in Prehabilitation Research. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023 Dec;30(13):8755-8756. doi: 10.1245/s10434-023-14304-7. Epub 2023 Sep 29.
Rajendran S, Brown KGM, Solomon MJ. Oncovascular surgery for advanced pelvic malignancy. Br J Surg. 2023 Jan 10;110(2):144-149. doi: 10.1093/bjs/znac414.
Rajendran S, Nguyen CL, Brown KGM, Solomon MJ. The evolution of oncovascular pelvic surgery: A historical perspective. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2023 Jul;49(7):1314-1316. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2023.01.018. Epub 2023 Jan 18.
Risbey C, Fielder T, Steffens D, Shin JS, Solomon M. Patterns of DNA mismatch repair protein expression for primary and recurrent colorectal cancer at an advanced surgical unit: A retrospective audit. Colorectal Dis. 2023 Mar;25(3):369-374. doi: 10.1111/codi.16391. Epub 2022 Nov 21.
Risbey CWG, Brown KGM, Solomon MJ, Koh C, Karunaratne S, Steffens D. Impact of geographical health disparities on outcomes following pelvic exenteration at a centralised quaternary referral centre. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2023 Nov;49(11):107082. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2023.107082. Epub 2023 Sep 14.
Siu AHY, Holyland M, Carey S, Steffens D, Ansari N, Koh CE. Is the measurement of sarcopenia associated with oncological disease in patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy? ANZ J Surg. 2023 Sep;93(9):2186-2191. doi: 10.1111/ans.18645. Epub 2023 Jul 31.
Steffens D, Denehy L, Solomon M, Koh C, Ansari N, McBride K, Carey S, Bartyn J, Lawrence AS, Sheehan K, Delbaere K. Consumer Perspectives on the Adoption of a Prehabilitation Multimodal Online Program for Patients Undergoing Cancer Surgery. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Oct 18;15(20):5039. doi: 10.3390/cancers15205039.
Steffens D, Makker PGS, Ansari N, Solomon MJ, Solanki H, Moran B, Koh C. The influence of postoperative morbidity on medium to long-term quality of life trajectories following cytoreductive surgery for peritoneal malignancy - A prospective cohort study. Surgical Oncology Insight. 2023;100004. ISSN 2950-2470. DOI: 10.1016/j.soi.2023.100004.
Steffens D, Pocovi NC, Bartyn J, Delbaere K, Hancock MJ, Koh C, Denehy L, van Schooten KS, Solomon M, On Behalf Of The Priority Trial Collaboration. Feasibility, Reliability, and Safety of Remote Five Times Sit to Stand Test in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Apr 24;15(9):2434. doi: 10.3390/cancers15092434.
Steffens D, Solomon MJ, Lee P, Austin K, Koh C, Byrne C, Karunaratne S, Hatcher S, Taylor K, McBride K. Surgical, survival and quality of life outcomes in over 1000 pelvic exenterations: lessons learned from a large Australian case series. ANZ J Surg. 2023 May;93(5):1232-1241. doi: 10.1111/ans.18356. Epub 2023 Mar 3.
van Kessel CS, Waller J, Steffens D, Lee PJ, Austin KKS, Stalley PD, Solomon MJ. Improving Surgical Outcomes in Pelvic Exenteration Surgery: Comparison of Prone Sacrectomy With Anterior Cortical Sacrectomy Techniques. Ann Surg. 2023 Dec 1;278(6):945-953. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000006040. Epub 2023 Jul 24.