[Total gastrectomy for gastric cancer: can the type of lymphadenectomy condition the long-term results?]

N Di Martino, G Izzo, A Cosenza, L Vicenzo, L Monaco, F Torelli, A Basciotti, A Brillantino, A Marra
I Supplementi di Tumori: Official Journal of Società Italiana di Cancerologia ... [et Al.] 2005, 4 (3): S84-5

INTRODUCTION: Gastric cancer is the second tumor for frequency in the world. Surgery is still the only curative treatment. Good results in terms of long distance survival, postoperative morbidity and mortality have been achieved in the last years. The extension of lymphadenectomy is an important and discussed matter and it is not clear if lymphadenectomy may contribute to improve the surgical results. The Japanese surgeons were the first ones, in the 60's, to introduce a D2-D3 extended lymphadenectomy, but the real benefits of this technique are still being discussed. Indeed lymphonodal metastasis seem to be one of the most important prognostic factors in the gastric cancer and the level and the number of metastatic nodes are useful to predict the patients' survival. The aim of this study is to value the D2 lymphadenectomy in the patients who were treated with total gastrectomy for gastric adenocarcinoma, comparing the results both with the D1 lymphadenectomy and the D3-D4, paying attention to the survival rates related with the lymphonodal dissection.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: From 1998 to 2004, we studied 87 patients with gastric cancer. Out of 78 patients treated surgically, 9 were judged unresectable. Out of 69 patients treated surgically, one died before surgery and so he was put away by this study. All the patients were treated with total gastrectomy and a GI tract reconstruction by Roux's Y termino-lateral esophageal-jejunal anastomosis. In 20 patients we also made a splenectomy. We followed the Japanese Research Society for Gastric Cancer guidelines, according to which nodes are gathered into 16 levels and divided in 4 groups (N1-N4) depending on the cancer localization. The extension of the lymphadenectomy has been classified according to the level of the removed nods. The patients were divided into 3 groups. First group: patients undergone a total gastrectomy with D1 lymphadenectomy. Second group: patients undergone D2 lymphadenectomy. Third group: patients undergone D3 and D4 lymphadenectomy. The data we obtained let us value the survival rate.

RESULTS: Out of the 78 patients treated, 69 were resected with a 88.5% resection rate (69/78). Perioperatory mortality was 1.4% (1/69). Global survival was 53.8% (44/68). The 5 years survival for the Ia stage was 82.6%, 89.3% for the Ib stage, 67.8% for the II stage, 56.6% for the IIIa, 16.8% for the IIIb and 0% for the IV stage. In addition the 5 years survival in the patients without lymphnodal metastasis was 79%, much higher than the 30.6% obtained in the patients with lymphonodal metastasis (p <0.0001). In the patients who underwent D1 lymphadenectomy, survival was 73.4%, while we obtained a result of 70.4% and 13.8% respectively in the D2 and D3-D4 (p <0.05). In the advanced stages (IIIa, IIIb, IV), the survival rate in the patients with lymphadenectomy D2 vs D1 vs D3-D4 was 38.9% vs 0% vs 36.3% (p <0.0001). The survival rate based on the extension of the lymphadenectomy in the patients with lymphonodal metastasis resulted to be much higher in those patients who underwent a D2 lymphadenectomy (43.5% in 5 years) compared both to D1 (0% in 6 months) and (29.5% in 5 years) D3-D4 lymphadenectomy.

CONCLUSIONS: The relation between long distance survival and extension of the lymphadenectomy in the patients with gastric adenocarcinoma is still being discussed. Different studies show the importance of a careful lymphadenectomy as the main mean for a better long distance survival in the patients with gastric cancer. Other studies showed a link between gastric cancer prognosis and number of positive nodes. If more than 7-8 nodes are affected with metastasis, prognosis is usually poor. Therefore the presence of nod metastasis has a negative influence in the prognosis of this tumor; for this reason D2 lymphadenectomy is the technique to be used for the treatment of the gastric adenocarcinoma, both for a good staging and a better long distance survival, but particularly in the advanced cancers which are, at the moment, the highest number of cases that reach the surgeon's attention.

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