Non-anaemic iron deficiency and treatment outcomes after colorectal cancer surgery

Non-anaemic iron deficiency and treatment outcomes after colorectal cancer surgery


NATO study: Non-Anaemic iron deficiency and Treatment Outcomes after colorectal cancer surgery

A prospective observational study to determine if non-anaemic iron deficiency increases the risk of poor post-operative outcome relative to an iron replete control in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal malignancy.

Principal investigator

A/Prof Lachlan Miles (University of Melbourne and Austin Health)


The study commenced recruitment on 7 May 2019, and is presently enrolling participants at 19 sites across Australia and New Zealand, with a recruitment of 411 out of the planned cohort of 422 patients.


The NATO study is a prospective observational study performed in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer, comparing non-anaemic patients with iron deficiency to those who are iron replete. The primary outcome is days alive and out of hospital at postoperative day 90, with important secondary outcomes examining incidence of postoperative complications, readmission and quality of life. 


The study has received $A200,000 from a variety of government, public, private and industry funders.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry registration number: ACTRN12618001997246

Per patient payment

Per patient payment is $A400 from enrolment to the completion of 90-day follow-up.

Participating hospitals

Australian hospitals
Alfred Hospital
Austin Health
Albury Wodonga Health
Epworth Hospital
Flinders Medical Centre
John Hunter Hospital
Bendigo Hospital
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Prince of Wales Hospital (NSW)
Princess Alexandra Hospital
Rockhampton Hospital
St Vincents Hospital, Melbourne
University Hospital Geelong - Barwon Health
Western Health Service
New Zealand hospitals
Waitematā District Health Board

For more information

For further information about this study, please contact the NATO principal investigator, A/Prof Lachlan Miles by email.

Last updated 15:52 6.03.2023