Published online Jan 26, 2022. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v14.i1.117
Peer-review started: March 24, 2021
First decision: June 5, 2021
Revised: June 21, 2021
Accepted: December 31, 2021
Article in press: December 31, 2021
Published online: January 26, 2022
Digestive tract resections are usually followed by an anastomosis. Anastomotic leakage, normally due to failed healing, is the most feared complication in digestive surgery because it is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Despite technical and technological advances and focused research, its rates have remained almost unchanged the last decades. In the last two decades, stem cells (SCs) have been shown to enhance healing in animal and human studies; hence, SCs have emerged since 2008 as an alternative to improve anastomoses outcomes.
To summarise the published knowledge of SC utilisation as a preventative tool for hollow digestive viscera anastomotic or suture leaks.
PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus and Cochrane searches were performed using the key words “anastomosis”, “colorectal/colonic anastomoses”, “anastomotic leak”, “stem cells”, “progenitor cells”, “cellular therapy” and “cell therapy” in order to identify relevant articles published in English and Spanish during the years of 2000 to 2021. Studies employing SCs, performing digestive anastomoses in hollow viscera or digestive perforation sutures and monitoring healing were finally included. Reference lists from the selected articles were reviewed to identify additional pertinent articles.
Given the great variability in the study designs, anastomotic models, inter
Eighteen preclinical studies and three review papers were identified; no clinical studies have been published and there are no registered clinical trials. Experimental studies, mainly in rat and porcine models and occasionally in very adverse conditions such as ischaemia or colitis, have been demonstrated SCs as safe and have shown some encouraging morphological, functional and even clinical results. Mesenchymal SCs are mostly employed, and delivery routes are mainly local injections and cell sheets followed by biosutures (sutures coated by SCs) or purely topical. As potential weaknesses, animal models need to be improved to make them more comparable and equivalent to clinical practice, and the SC isolation processes need to be standardised. There is notable heterogeneity in the studies, making them difficult to compare. Further investigations are needed to establish the indications, the administration system, potential adjuvants, the final efficacy and to confirm safety and exclude definitively oncological concerns.
The future role of SC therapy to induce healing processes in digestive anasto
Core Tip: Digestive anastomoses leakages reflect impaired healing, are frequent and are associated with severe consequences. Despite technical and technological advancements, leakage rates have remained stable in the last decades. Stem cells (SCs) could improve anastomotic healing, as they have in other altered healing conditions. We present a descriptive review of the published literature about digestive anastomoses and sutures and SCs, analyzing the results and discussing their limitations and concerns. Eighteen preclinical studies have confirmed the feasibility and safety and have shown interesting results, however, with some limitations and high heterogenicity. Additional studies and better models are needed prior to human testing.