Background: In general, hepatic metastasis from stomach carcinoma has an unfavorable prognosis. In addition, there are often further metastases in other organs, such as peritoneal carcinomatosis. The major aim of the present study was to investigate a potential curative surgical approach in these patients.
Material and methods: Thirty-one patients with hepatic metastases from stomach cancer were treated in the University Clinic Erlangen-Nürnberg. The data were collected retrospectively from 1972 to 1977 and prospectively since 1978 at the Erlangen Cancer Registry. The time frame of this retrospective analysis from patients who had surgical resection of hepatic metatases from gastric cancer was from 1972 to 2008. The median age of the patients was 65 years, and the ratio of men to women was 2:1.
Results: Atypical or anatomical resections of segments were possible in 21 cases. Larger operations, such as hemihepatectomy (right/left), were performed in 10 patients. The postoperative complication rate was 29%, and the hospital mortality was 6%. The five-year survival rate was 13%; R0 resection was achieved in 23 patients. We also found a significant difference in the 5-year survival rate between synchronous and metachronous metastases (0 vs. 29%; p < 0.001) and R0 resected patients (p = 0.002). Patients with solitary metastases had a significantly better median survival than patients with multiple metastases (21 vs. 4 months; p < 0.005.)
Conclusions: The overall survival in our study was 13%; therefore gastric cancer with liver metastases is not in every case a palliative situation. It seems that patients with liver metastases benefit from resection, especially if the metastases are metachronous (p < 0.001) and solitary, provided that a curative R0 resection has been achieved. An interdisciplinary approach with neoadjuvant chemotherapy appears useful. Additional controlled studies should be conducted.