Background: Despite progress in surgical techniques and perioperative care, gastrectomy remains a procedure of significant morbidity. Several scoring systems and clinical measures have been adopted to predict postoperative complications in gastric cancer patients. The aim of this study was to investigate whether high serum levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in the early postoperative period may be a prognostic factor of postoperative morbidity.
Methods: A group of 99 consecutive patients with resectable gastric cancer were enrolled. The mean age was 62.9 years and the male/female ratio was 72:27. Subtotal gastric resection was performed in 22 patients and total gastric resection in 77. The IL-6 serum level was measured on the 1st postoperative day (POD).
Results: Complications were recorded in 28 patients (28.3%). The observed case-fatality rate was 3.03%. An IL-6 serum level of >288.7 pg/ml on the 1st POD in univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models was an independent prognostic factor for overall complications and infective complications.
Conclusion: Our study showed an association between perioperative IL-6 serum levels and postoperative morbidity in gastric cancer patients. The IL-6 serum level on the 1st POD was shown to be an independent prognostic factor for both overall complications and infective complications.