Does non-curative gastrectomy improve survival in patients with metastatic gastric cancer?
ABSTRACT The role of non-curative or palliative gastrectomy remains controversial. Our aim was to compare retrospective patients who have undergone non-curative gastrectomy to the patients with surgical exploration only.
Between years 2000 and 2009, 488 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma were treated at the Department of Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital. Fifty-five patients had metastatic disease but their symptoms were not severe enough to require palliative surgery. Thirty-two of them underwent operative exploration (Group A), and 23 non-curative gastrectomy (Group B). All operations were initiated with curative intent.
The difference in median survival between Groups A and B was insignificant (5.7 months in Group A and 10.8 months in Group B, P = 0.152). However, 33 patients with postoperative chemotherapy had significantly better median survival than the others (14.2 months vs. 1.9 months, P < 0.001). No significant differences were observed between Groups A and B in the rate of late postoperative gastrointestinal obstruction or bleeding.
Non-curative gastrectomy does not improve survival in patients with metastatic gastric cancer, nor reduces the rate of late occlusions. There is no need for prophylactic palliative gastrectomy in patients with gastric cancer who do not have bleeding or obstruction preoperatively. Among those patients, postoperative chemotherapy seems to improve survival.