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Gastric Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage I Gastric Cancer

Standard treatment options:

  1. One of the following surgical procedures:
    • Distal subtotal gastrectomy (if the lesion is not in the fundus or at the cardioesophageal junction).
    • Proximal subtotal gastrectomy or total gastrectomy, both with distal esophagectomy (if the lesion involves the cardia). These tumors often involve the submucosal lymphatics of the esophagus.
    • Total gastrectomy (if the tumor involves the stomach diffusely or arises in the body of the stomach and extends to within 6 cm of the cardia or distal antrum).

    Regional lymphadenectomy is recommended with all of the above procedures. Splenectomy is not routinely performed.[1]

  2. Postoperative chemoradiation therapy for patients with node-positive (T1 N1) and muscle-invasive (T2 N0) disease.[2]

Surgical resection including regional lymphadenectomy is the treatment of choice for patients with stage I gastric cancer.[1] If the lesion is not in the cardioesophageal junction and does not diffusely involve the stomach, subtotal gastrectomy is the procedure of choice, since it has been demonstrated to provide equivalent survival when compared with total gastrectomy and is associated with decreased morbidity.[3][Level of evidence: 1iiA] When the lesion involves the cardia, proximal subtotal gastrectomy or total gastrectomy (including a sufficient length of esophagus) may be performed with curative intent. If the lesion diffusely involves the stomach, total gastrectomy is required. At a minimum, surgical resection should include greater and lesser curvature perigastric regional lymph nodes. Note that in patients with stage I gastric cancer, perigastric lymph nodes may contain cancer.

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In patients with node-positive (T1 N1) and muscle-invasive (T2 N0) disease, postoperative chemoradiation therapy may be considered. A prospective multi-institution phase III trial (SWOG-9008) evaluated postoperative combined chemoradiation therapy versus surgery alone in 556 patients with completely resected stage IB to stage IV (M0) adenocarcinoma of the stomach and gastroesophageal junction and reported a significant survival benefit with adjuvant combined modality therapy.[2][Level of evidence: 1iiA] With a median follow-up of 5 years, median survival was 36 months for the adjuvant chemoradiation therapy group as compared to 27 months for the surgery-alone arm (P = .005). Three-year overall survival (OS) rates and relapse-free survival rates were 50% and 48%, respectively, with adjuvant chemoradiation therapy versus 41% and 31%, respectively, for surgery alone (P = .005). However, only 36 patients in the trial had stage IB tumors (18 patients in each arm).[4] Since the prognosis is relatively favorable for patients with completely resected stage IB disease, the effectiveness of adjuvant chemoradiation therapy for this group is less clear.

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