Background: In Western countries, the overall incidence of gastric cancer is declining, while the incidence of proximal gastric cancer is rising. We evaluated the effect of sex, racial/ethnic group, and age on the localization of gastric cancer.
Methods: The records of all gastric cancer patients who registered at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from January 1, 1985, to May 31, 1998, were reviewed. Tissue diagnosis and established tumor location were required.
Results: The case records of 1242 eligible patients, consisting of 821 non-Hispanic white, 230 Hispanic, 125 African American, 63 Asian, and 3 Native American patients, were analyzed. Among the 459 women, racial/ethnic group did not have a significant impact on gastric cancer localization (P = 0.57). However, among the 783 men, proximal cancers were significantly more frequent in the non-Hispanic white patients (57% vs 38% Hispanic, 41% African American, 17% Asian; P < 0.0001). Symptoms at diagnosis significantly varied for proximal vs non-proximal cancers.
Conclusion: Proximal gastric cancer localization was more frequent among non-Hispanic white men, while non-Hispanic white women had a localization pattern similar to those of other racial/ethnic groups. Proximal gastric cancer represents a distinct subtype of gastric cancer that may have different biology, risk factors, and clinical behavior.