Management of Gastric Remnant Carcinoma Based on the Results of a 15-Year Endoscopic Screening Program

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Summary Background Data

Partial gastrectomy for benign peptic ulcer disease is associated with an increased risk of adenocarcinoma of the gastric remnant, especially in patients who are at least 15 years' postgastrectomy. Increasing evidence of mucosal dysplasia is noted on random gastric biopsy and may serve as a histologic marker in the identification of early cancer of the gastric stump.


From an initial group of 233 patients who underwent gastrectomy for benign peptic ulcer disease between 1960 and 1975, 163 patients began yearly flexible gastroscopy and random mucosal biopsy. Routine histologic studies identified either normal or dysplastic epithelium as well as adenocarcinoma. An average of eight biopsies were taken per endoscopic study. All endoscopic studies were performed by surgical residents under the supervision of one surgical attending.


From July 1980 to June 1995, 145 patients completed annual gastroscopy and random biopsy. A total of 2287 endoscopic studies were performed. Fifteen patients were found to have severe dysplasia. Nine (60%) had associated microscopic evidence of adenocarcinoma. Four additional patients had macroscopic adenocarcinoma on endoscopic examination. All 13 patients with cancer were asymptomatic. Six patients continue surveillance who display moderate-to-severe dysplasia alone. The 13 patients with carcinoma underwent completion gastrectomy (R2 nodal dissection) with no evidence of cancer found beyond the gastric wall. These patients averaged 29 years since their original partial gastrectomy.


A prospective screening program for gastric remnant cancer was begun to assess the ability to discover early neoplastic changes on random biopsy and to make treatment decisions regarding the efficacy of completion gastrectomy after discovery of carcinoma.


Aggressive annual screening using flexible endoscopy and multiple random biopsy may discover cancer in the gastric remnant and can lead to completion curative gastrectomy in asymptomatic people. Patients who are at least 20 years postpartial gastrectomy for benign disease should be considered for annual endoscopic surveillance.

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