Background and study aims: The aims of this article were to clarify the incidence of gastric remnant cancer after surgery for early gastric cancer, and to develop surveillance programs for patients who have undergone partial gastrectomy in order to detect such lesions at an early stage.
Patients and methods: A total of 642 patients with partial gastrectomy for early gastric cancer were enrolled in a surveillance program for gastric remnant cancer between 1985 and 1996. In 509 patients, the interval between endoscopic examinations was no more than 2 years.
Results: Among the 509 patients examined periodically, 15 patients were diagnosed as having gastric remnant cancer; in 12 patients, the cancers were detected at an early stage. All gastric remnant cancers were found distant from the site of the anastomosis, and in eight patients the cancers were located on the lesser curvature. The cumulative 5-year prevalence rate was estimated as 2.4 % and the 10-year prevalence rate as 6.1 %. The initial tumors in the patients with gastric remnant cancer were of the microscopically intestinal type, without exception. The interval between the preceding examination and diagnosis was shorter in the patients with early cancer than in those with advanced cancer ( P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Periodical surveillance endoscopy for gastric remnant cancer is recommended after surgery for early gastric cancer, particularly in patients whose cancers are of the intestinal type. The examinations can be repeated at 2 - 3-year intervals, and special attention should be given to the lesser curvature away from the anastomotic site.