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Keywords:

  • prognosis;
  • signet ring cell carcinoma

Background:  Signet ring cell (SRC) carcinoma of the stomach is characterized by its poor prognosis and potential to infiltrate the wall of stomach, although survival studies comparing carcinomas with and without SRC features have yielded inconsistent results. This study compared the clinicopathological features and prognosis of patients with SRC carcinoma with those with non-signet ring cell carcinoma of the stomach (NSRC).

Methods:  We reviewed the records of 2358 patients diagnosed with gastric carcinoma who were treated surgically between January 1980 and December 1999 at the Department of Surgery, Chonnam National University Hospital. There were 204 patients (8.7%) with SRC carcinoma as compared to 2154 with NSRC.

Results:  Significant differences were noted in the mean patient age, mean tumour size, depth of invasion, prevalence of hepatic and regional lymph node metastases, tumour stage, and curability between the patients with SRC histology and NSRC. There were no statistically significant differences in patient gender, location, or peritoneal dissemination between patients with SRC carcinoma and NSRC. SRC carcinoma of the stomach had a higher prevalence of early gastric carcinoma (46.1%) than NSRC (21.7%). The overall 5-year survival of all the patients with SRC carcinoma was 60.2% as compared with 48.9% for the patients with NSRC (P < 0.01). Using Cox proportional hazards model, lymph node metastasis and curability were significant factors affecting the outcome. Signet ring cell histology itself was not an independent prognostic factor.

Conclusions:  Patients with SRC histology do not have a worse prognosis than patients with other types of gastric carcinoma.