Background & aims: Appropriate management of primary gastric lymphoma is controversial. This prospective, multicenter study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of endoscopic biopsy diagnosis and clinical staging procedures and assess a treatment strategy based on Helicobacter pylori status and tumor stage and grade.
Methods: Of 266 patients with primary gastric B-cell lymphoma, 236 with stages EI (n = 151) or EII (n = 85) were included in an intention-to-treat analysis. Patients with H. pylori-positive stage EI low-grade lymphoma underwent eradication therapy. Nonresponders and patients with stage EII low-grade lymphoma underwent gastric surgery. Depending on the residual tumor status and predefined risk factors, patients received either radiotherapy or no further treatment. Patients with high-grade lymphoma underwent surgery and chemotherapy at stages EI/EII, complemented by radiation in case of incomplete resection.
Results: Endoscopic-bioptic typing and grading and clinical staging were accurate to 73% and 70%, respectively, based on the histopathology of resected specimens. The overall 2-year survival rates for low-grade lymphoma did not differ in the risk-adjusted treatment groups, ranging from 89% to 96%. In high-grade lymphoma, patients with complete resection or microscopic tumor residuals had significantly better survival rates (88% for EI and 83% for EII) than those with macroscopic tumor residues (53%; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: There is a considerable need for improvement in clinical diagnostic and staging procedures, especially with a view toward nonsurgical treatment. With the exception of eradication therapy in H. pylori-positive low-grade lymphoma of stage EI and the subgroup of locally advanced high-grade lymphoma, resection remains the treatment of choice. However, because there is an increasing trend toward stomach-conserving therapy, a randomized trial comparing cure of disease and quality of life with surgical and conservative treatment is needed.