Background: Although abnormal hemostasis has been described in cancer patients, the precise association between the plasma fibrinogen level and lymphatic metastasis has not been reported in a large-scale clinical study.
Methods: Preoperative plasma levels of fibrinogen as well as C-reactive protein (CRP) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) were retrospectively examined in 649 patients who underwent surgery for gastric cancer, and the correlation between these factors and nodal status was evaluated.
Results: Plasma fibrinogen level in patients with gastric cancer showed a positive association with nodal classification (P < 0.0001). Hyperfibrinogenemia (>310 mg/dl) as well as high CEA (>5 ng/ml) and CRP (>0.3 mg/dl) showed a significant association with nodal metastasis in univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis revealed that hyperfibrinogenemia had an independent association with nodal metastasis (odds ratio, 2.004 (1.140-3.521); P = 0.0157), whereas CEA and CRP were not independent factors. Hyperfibrinogenemia showed an independent association even in advanced cancer [odds ratio 2.611 (1.404-4.854), P = 0.0024, n = 319]. When the 649 gastric cancers were classified into intestinal-type and gastric-type adenocarcinomas, plasma fibrinogen level was correlated with nodal metastasis only in the intestinal-type.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that hyperfibrinogenemia may provide favorable circumstances for cancer cells to metastasize via the lymphatic system. Preoperative plasma fibrinogen level is a useful predictor of lymphatic metastasis in intestinal-type gastric cancer.