Clinical characteristics of primary gastric lymphoma detected during screening for gastric cancer in Korea*

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Background and Aim:

The role of screening endoscopy in primary gastric lymphoma (PGL) has not been investigated. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of PGLs detected by screening endoscopy in the high prevalence area of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.


This retrospective cohort study enrolled consecutive subjects who were diagnosed with PGL by endoscopic screening in Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System Gangnam Center, Seoul, Korea, between October 2003 and September 2013. The characteristics and outcome of screening-detected patients (screening group) were compared with consecutive subjects diagnosed with PGL in the outpatient clinic (outpatient group).


Of the 105 194 recipients of screening upper endoscopy, 52 (0.049%) were found to have PGL. The median age was 54.2 years (range 23–79), and 65.4% were women. The proportion of PGL to gastric malignancy was 12.1% (52/429) overall, but >30% (25/73) in middle-aged (40–59) women. PGLs in the screening group were more likely to be mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (98.1% vs 60.0%, P < 0.001) and treated with H. pylori eradication alone (90.0% vs 48.1%, P < 0.001) than those in the outpatient group. Moreover, the screening group showed better 5-year overall survival (100.0% vs 89.3%, P = 0.016) and progression-free survival (94.9% vs 83.4%, P = 0.040) than the outpatient group.


In Korea, a high prevalence area of H. pylori infection, PGL seems more prevalent than in Western countries. Endoscopic screening may help to detect early stage H. pylori-positive mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. A high index of suspicion is needed, especially in middle-aged women.

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