Operative morbidity and mortality after D2 and D4 extended dissection for advanced gastric cancer: a prospective randomized trial conducted by Asian surgeons

Y Yonemura, C C Wu, N Fukushima, I Honda, E Bandou, T Kawamura, S Kamata, H Yamamoto, B S Kim, N Matsuki, T Sawa, S H Noh et al.
Hepato-gastroenterology 2006, 53 (69): 389-94

BACKGROUND/AIMS: A randomized study was performed to evaluate morbidity and mortality after D2 (level 1 and 2 lymphadenectomy) and D4 (D2 plus lymphadenectomy of para-aortic lymph nodes) dissection for advanced gastric cancer.

METHODOLOGY: Two hundred and fifty-six patients with advanced gastric adenocarcinoma were enrolled (128 to each group). Patients were randomly allocated into D2 (N = 128) or D4 (N = 128) group. The first and second tiers of lymph nodes are removed in D2 dissection. In D4 gastrectomy, the paraaortic lymph nodes were additionally removed.

RESULTS: There was no indication of significant distribution bias with regard to age, sex, T-grade, and N-grade between the two groups. Operation time of D4 gastrectomy (369 +/- 120 min) was significantly longer than that of D2 gastrectomy (273 +/- 1103 min), and blood loss of the D4 group (872 +/- 683 mL) was significantly greater than that of the D2 group 571 +/- 527 mL (P < 0.001). Five (4%) and two (2%) medical complications developed in the D2 and D4 groups, respectively. Surgical complications developed in 28 (22%) and 48 patients (38%) after D2 and D4 gastrectomy. The most common complications were anastomotic leakage, pancreatic fistula, and abdominal abscess. Pancreatic fistula developed in 6 (19%) of 32 patients after D4 plus pancreatosplenectomy, but the incidence of pancreatic fistula after D2 gastrectomy plus pancreatosplenectomy was low (6%, 1/16). Two patients died within 30 days of operation (0.8%, 2/256), and each patient belonged to the D2 and D4 group.

CONCLUSIONS: Although there is a significantly higher surgical complication rate in D4 dissection, D4 dissection can be done safely as D2 dissection when performed by well-trained surgeons.

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