Background: The REGATTA trial showed that gastrectomy followed by chemotherapy for advanced gastric cancer with a single non-curable factor did not improve survival outcomes in comparison with chemotherapy alone. Chemotherapy is therefore the mainstay treatment for incurable gastric cancer. However, for patients who are unfit for chemotherapy, the role of palliative gastrectomy remains controversial. Methods: We retrospectively identified 207 patients with in curable gastric cancer who underwent palliative gastrectomy or bypass surgery because of urgent symptoms who were treated from 2002 to 2014. Fifty-nine of these patients who did not receive chemotherapy following surgery were enrolled in the present study. The patients were divided into the palliative gastrectomy group (n = 40) and the bypass surgery group (n = 19). The survival outcomes of the two groups were compared. Independent prognostic factors were identified using multivariate analysis. Results: The rate of patients who underwent gastrectomy was significantly higher among patients whose tumors were located in the upper third (n = 19/20, 95%) than in patients whose tumors were located in the lower or middle third (n = 21/39, 54%, p = 0.001). The median survival time (MST) in the gastrectomy group (145 days) was significantly longer than that in the bypass group (86 days) (p = 0.008). Bypass surgery was identified as an independent prognostic factor in the multivariate analysis (HR = 2.3; 95%CI = 1.3–4.2 p = 0.007). Conclusions: Palliative gastrectomy may improve survival in patients with incurable gastric cancer who show emergent symptoms and who are unfit for chemotherapy.
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