Staging and surgical approaches in gastric cancer: A systematic review
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BACKGROUND: Gastric adenocarcinoma accounted for 6.8% of new cancer cases and 8.8% of cancer deaths worldwide in 2012. Although resection is the cornerstone for cure, several aspects of surgical intervention remain controversial or sub-optimally applied at the population level. These include staging, extent of lymph node dissection (LND), optimal requirements of LN assessment, minimum resection margins, surgical technique (laparoscopic vs. open), relationship between surgical volumes and patient outcomes, and resection of stage IV gastric cancer. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted to inform surgical care. RESULTS: The evidence included in this systematic review consists of one guideline, seven systematic reviews and 48 primary studies. CONCLUSIONS: All patients should be discussed at a multidisciplinary team meeting and a staging CT of the chest and abdomen should always be performed. Diagnostic laparoscopy should be performed in patients at risk for stage IV disease. A D2 LND is preferred for curative-intent resection in advanced non-metastatic gastric cancer. At least 16 LNs should be assessed for adequate staging of curative-resected gastric cancer. Gastric cancer surgery should aim to achieve an RO resection margin. In the metastatic setting, surgery should only be considered for palliation of symptoms. Patients should be referred to higher volume centres, and those with adequate support to manage potential complications. Laparoscopic resections should be performed to the same standards as open resections.
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