Peritoneal carcinomatosis is a common cause of failure after surgery for gastric cancer. The present longitudinal study was designed to evaluate the incidence and potential predictors of peritoneal recurrence after curative resection for gastric cancer.
Four hundred and forty-one patients who underwent potentially curative resections for gastric cancer in three surgical centres between 1988 and 1996 were evaluated. All patients were followed using a standard protocol following discharge from hospital. The correlation between tumour recurrence and clinicopathological variables was studied by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Gastric cancer recurred in 215 (49 per cent) of 441 patients. Peritoneal recurrence was observed in 77 patients (17 per cent), locoregional recurrence in 96 patients and haematogenous recurrence in 75. Multivariate logistic regression analysis of factors associated with peritoneal recurrence identified diffuse–mixed histological type (relative risk (RR) 4·31, P < 0·001), infiltration of the serosa (RR 3·36, P = 0·001), lymph node involvement (RR 2·67, P = 0·023) and tumour size (RR 1·11, P = 0·050) as significant independent variables. In the diffuse–mixed histological subtype, the 5-year cumulative risk of peritoneal recurrence was 12 per cent in the absence of serosal invasion, and 69 per cent in patients with infiltration of the serosa; in the intestinal subtype, the cumulative risk in patients with serosa-negative and -positive tumours was 4 and 21 per cent respectively.
Radical surgery offers a low probability of cure in patients with diffuse–mixed type of gastric cancer and involvement of the serosa, due to a high risk of peritoneal recurrence. These patients might benefit from adjuvant therapies to prevent peritoneal carcinomatosis. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.