Background and study aims: Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) of early gastric cancer is a minimally invasive procedure. The incidence and characteristics of metachronous multiple gastric cancers were investigated in a retrospective study in patients with early gastric cancer after EMR treatment.
Patients and methods: A total of 143 patients with early gastric cancer who had undergone EMR treatment were periodically followed up with endoscopic examinations for 24 months or longer.
Results: The median period of endoscopic follow-up was 57 months (range 24 - 157 months). None of the patients died of gastric cancer, and there were no treatment-related deaths. Five patients died of other diseases. Of 20 patients (14 %) with metachronous multiple gastric cancers, 15 were treated by EMR. One patient with differentiated submucosal cancer and four with undifferentiated cancers underwent surgery. Sixteen patients (11 %) had synchronous multiple early gastric cancer lesions within 1 year of the initial EMR. About half of the multiple lesions were located in the same third of the stomach as the primary lesion, and most lesions were similar in macroscopic type to the primary lesions. Most multiple lesions were of the differentiated type.
Conclusions: Annual endoscopic examinations can preserve the whole stomach in most patients with early gastric cancer after successful EMR.