Skip to main content

Pathologic characteristics of gastric cancer in the elderly: a retrospective study of 994 surgical patients



The clinicopathologic features of gastric carcinoma in elderly people have been reported previously. The present study examined the patterns and distribution of gastric carcinomas in the elderly, especially in patients aged 85 and older.


A retrospective study of 994 consecutive Japanese patients aged 65 years or older was performed. In this group, a total of 1147 lesions were analyzed. Pathological findings in the very old group (older than 85 years; n = 126) were compared with those in younger groups (65–74 years [young-old group]; n = 356) and (75–84 years [middle-old group]; n = 512).


While the male-to-female ratio significantly decreased with advancing age, the relative odds of gastric cancer in men were higher than those in women in all age groups. In the very old group, cancer of the lower third of the stomach tended to increase with advancing age, and accounted for 43.7% of cases. In the population overall, differentiated-type adenocarcinoma accounted for 89.6% in the early cancers and 50.3% in the advanced cancers. The proportion of cases involving differentiated-type carcinoma significantly increased with advancing age in early cancer and female advanced cancer cases, whereas no significant change was found in male advanced-cancer patients. In the very old group, lymph node metastasis was found in 5.4% of early cancers and 72.7% in advanced cancers. Multiple cancers significantly increased with advancing age (P < 0.05; 10.7% in the younger-old group, 12.7% in the middle-old group, and 19.0% in the very old group).


These results indicate that, in the very old group, gastric cancers showed a distal shift with predominantly differentiated-type carcinoma in the early stages and increased undifferentiated-type carcinomas in advanced stages. These results suggest increased histologic diversity with tumor growth. These findings have important implications for the screening and diagnosis of gastric cancer in the elderly.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Arai, T., Esaki, Y., Inoshita, N. et al. Pathologic characteristics of gastric cancer in the elderly: a retrospective study of 994 surgical patients. Gastric Cancer 7, 154–159 (2004).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Carcinoma
  • Stomach
  • Elderly
  • Differentiated-type carcinoma