A Multicenter Study on Oncologic Outcome of Laparoscopic Gastrectomy for Early Cancer in Japan

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Laparoscopic surgery for gastric cancer is technically feasible, but it is not widely accepted because it has not been evaluated from the standpoint of oncologic outcome. We conducted a retrospective, multicenter study of a large series of patients in Japan to evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes of laparoscopic gastrectomy for early gastric cancer (EGC).


The study group comprised 1294 patients who underwent laparoscopic gastrectomy during the period April 1994 through December 2003 in 16 participating surgical units (Japanese Laparoscopic Surgery Study Group). The short- and long-term outcomes of these patients were examined.


Distal gastrectomy was performed in 1185 patients (91.5%), proximal gastrectomy in 54 (4.2%), and total gastrectomy in 55 (4.3%); all were performed laparoscopically. The morbidity and mortality rates associated with these operations were 14.8% and 0%, respectively. Histologically, 1212 patients (93.7%) had stage IA disease, 75 (5.8%) had stage IB disease, and 7 (0.5%) had stage II disease (the UICC staging). Cancer recurred in only 6 (0.6%) of 1294 patients treated curatively (median follow-up, 36 months; range, 13–113 months). The 5-year disease-free survival rate was 99.8% for stage IA disease, 98.7% for stage IB disease, and 85.7% for stage II disease.


Although our findings may be considered preliminary, our data indicate that laparoscopic surgery for EGC yields good short- and long-term oncologic outcomes.

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