Background: Although the number of patients undergoing laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG) has been increasing, a prospective study with a sample size sufficient to investigate the benefit of LADG has never been reported. We conducted a multi-institutional phase II trial to evaluate the safety of LADG with nodal dissection for clinical stage I gastric cancer patients.
Methods: The subjects comprised patients with clinical stage I gastric cancer who were able to undergo a distal gastrectomy. LADG with D1 plus suprapancreatic node dissection was performed. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who developed either anastomotic leakage or a pancreatic fistula. The secondary endpoints included surgical morbidity and short-term clinical outcome.
Results: Between November 2007 and September 2008, 176 eligible patients were enrolled. The proportion of patients who developed anastomotic leakage or a pancreatic fistula was 1.7%. The overall proportion of in-hospital grade 3 or 4 adverse events was 5.1%. The short-term clinical outcomes were as follows: 43.2% of the patients requested an analgesic on postoperative days 5-10; the median time from surgery until the first episode of flatus was 2 days; and 88 patients (50.0%) had a body temperature of 38 °C or higher during their hospital stay.
Conclusions: This trial confirmed the safety of LADG performed by credentialed surgeons in terms of the incidence of anastomotic leakage or pancreatic fistula formation. A phase III trial (JCOG 0912) to confirm the noninferiority of LADG to an open gastrectomy in terms of overall survival is ongoing.