Background: The worldwide incidence of gastric cancer is gradually declining, however it remains the fourth highest in cancer incidence and the second leading cause of cancer death. Gastric cancer in young people is a disturbing problem and the routine screening does not include people less than 35 years. The clinicopathological features of gastric carcinoma are said to differ between young and elderly patients and it is thought that the prognosis of this disease is worse for younger patients. It is also suggested that the diagnosis is usually made later or have a more aggressive behaviour. Although, others report that tumor staging and prognosis for young patients is similar to older patients and depends on whether the patients undergo a curative resection. All these data need more investigation and studies. Although Portugal has a high incidence of gastric cancer, no studies have yet been performed comparing the clinicopathologic features and prognosis of young and elderly patients with gastric cancer.
Aims: This study intend to assess whether the clinicopathological features and prognosis of gastric cancer in young patients (YGC) is similar to older ones (OGC).
Methods: Between 2000 and 2005, 406 patients with histological diagnosis of primary gastric cancer, treated in the Departments of Surgery and Oncology at the Centro Hospitalar of Vila Nova de Gaia / Espinho, were regularly followed at least for five years after surgery. These were reviewed retrospectively. Several variables were analyzed in young patients and compared with the elder ones. We used the chi-square and Fisher to evaluate the statistical association between categorical variables and t-test for numeric variables. Survival was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and used the log-rank test to assess differences in survival among different subgroups of patients. The criteria for statistical significance was p < 0.05. Data analysis was performed using the SPSS 18.
Results and conclusions: With regard to resectability, 78 % of the tumors were resected in the group of younger patients, the surgery more frequently achieved was total gastrectomy with anastomosis in Y of Roux. In the elder group, about 62 % of the tumors were resected and BII gastrectomy was the most frequent surgery. The diffuse adenocarcinoma was the most frequent histological type in younger patients, whereas in older patients was intestinal adenocarcinoma. With regard to the stage in the first group there was a predominance of stages: IA and IV (26.1 %) in the second: IV (25.8 %). The survival for stage III e IV was significantly worst in YGC compared with OGC.