Long-term Survival Outcomes of Laparoscopic Versus Open Gastrectomy for Gastric Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Many meta-analyses have confirmed the technical feasibility and favorable short-term surgical outcomes of laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) for gastric cancer patients, but the long-term survival outcome of LG remains controversial compared with open gastrectomy (OG).

This study aimed to compare the 5-year overall survival (OS), recurrence, and gastric cancer–related death of LG with OG among gastric cancer patients.

PubMed was searched to February 2014.

The resectable gastric cancer patients who underwent curative LG or OG were eligible. The studies that compared 5-year OS, recurrence, or gastric cancer–related death in the LG and OG groups were included.

A meta-analysis, meta-regression, sensitivity analysis, subgroup analysis, and stage-specific analysis were performed to estimate the survival outcome between the two groups and identify the potential confounders. Quality assessment was based on a tailored comparability scoring system.

Twenty-three studies with 7336 patients were included. The score of comparability between two groups and the extent of lymphadenectomy were two independent confounders. Based on the well-balanced studies, the 5-year OS (OR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.90–1.28, P = 0.45), recurrence (OR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.68–1.02, P = 0.08), and gastric cancer–related death (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.65–1.13, P = 0.28) rates were comparable in LG and OG. Several subsets such as the publication year, study region, sample size, gastrectomy pattern, extent of lymphadenectomy, number of nodes harvested, and proportion of T1–2 or N0–1 did not influence the estimates, if they were well balanced. Particularly, the stage-specific estimates obtained comparable results between the two groups.

Randomized controlled trials comparing LG with OG remain sparse to assess their long-term survival outcomes.

The major contributions of this systematic review compared with other meta-analyses are a comprehensive collection of available long-term survival outcomes within a much larger number of observations and a more precise consideration of confounders. Current knowledge indicates that the long-term survival outcome of laparoscopic gastric cancer surgery is comparable to that of open surgery among early or advanced stage gastric cancer patients, and LG is acceptable with regard to oncologic safety.

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