Background: This study examined the clinical value of intraoperative peritoneal lavage for cytological examination in patients with gastric cancer. Peritoneal dissemination is the most frequent mode of recurrence for this tumor.
Methods: A retrospective of lavage findings, other factors, and outcome was performed in 1,297 patients with gastric cancer who underwent intraoperative peritoneal lavage.
Results: The 5-year survival rate of patients with positive lavage cytology was only 2%. Patients who underwent curative resection and had negative cytology had a significantly better 5-year survival rate (P < 0.001). Even among patients with macroscopic peritoneal dissemination, the survival rate was significantly better with negative cytology, which reflected fewer free cancer cells in the peritoneal cavity. Serum concentrations of carcinoembryonic antigen and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 were significantly higher in patients with positive cytology. Multivariate analyses indicated that intraoperative cytological findings was an independent prognostic factor for survival, and was the most important factor for predicting peritoneal recurrence.
Conclusions: Intraoperative peritoneal lavage cytology is important in predicting survival and peritoneal recurrence in gastric cancer.