Gastric cancer: surgery in 2011
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- Ott, K., Lordick, F., Blank, S. et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2011) 396: 743. doi:10.1007/s00423-010-0738-7
Treatment of gastric cancer is more and more becoming an individualized decision. The choice of the optimal approach is based on prognostic factors, on the anatomic site of the tumor, and on expectations about the response to neoadjuvant treatment. Early gastric cancer that is limited to the mucosal layer is the domain of endoscopic resections. As soon as the submucosal layer is invaded, surgical strategies with adequate lymphadenectomy become necessary.
In many East Asian Centers and some other centers in the world, these tumors are resected by a laparoscopic approach. With a high experience, this can be done with excellent quality and outcome. In locally advanced gastric cancer, multimodal treatment can improve survival in comparison to surgery alone. However, the strategies differ significantly around the world. While adjuvant chemoradiotherapy is standard in the USA, in Europe, perioperative chemotherapy is the first choice, and in Japan, adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended. In Europe, three randomized phase III studies on the value of preoperative chemotherapy have been performed. Two of them have shown that perioperative chemotherapy does significantly improve the survival of patients with adenocarcinoma of the stomach and of the esophagogastric junction. The one including only preoperative chemotherapy failed to show a survival benefit for the combined treatment arm but showed excellent outcomes in both the surgery alone and the preoperative chemotherapy arms. Based on these studies, patients with stage II or stage III disease are now treated with perioperative chemotherapy. Additionally, it is generally accepted for more than 10 years now that responding patients have a significantly improved prognosis compared to nonresponding patients. The percentage of responding patients varies depending on the applied regimen between 20% and 45%. Therefore, early response evaluation or response prediction is an utmost important field of research. Proximal tumors are treated with a transhiatal extended gastrectomy, tumors in the middle third with a total gastrectomy, and distal tumors with a subtotal gastrectomy, if possible. Modified D2 lymphadenectomy avoiding splenectomy is now accepted as the standard procedure, providing improved prognosis for certain subgroups of patients. Individualized resection and lymphadenectomy techniques for early tumor stages and response-based neoadjuvant concepts for locally advanced tumors are the challenge for the future.