Background: Whereas palliative chemotherapy offers a median survival of approximately 10 months in advanced gastric and junctional adenocarcinoma (AGJA), the survival impact of primary tumor resection is controversial. Our purpose was to identify which AGJA patients benefit from palliative resection.
Methods: In 3,202 AGJA patients scheduled for surgery in 21 French centers between 1997 and 2010, prognostic factors were identified in palliative group and the impact of each combination of these factors on survival was studied.
Results: Surgery was defined as palliative due to solid organ metastasis (5.6 %), localized (4.6 %) or diffuse (2.3 %) peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC), or incomplete tumoral resection (12.8 %). Median survival of AGJA patients resected with a palliative intent (n = 677) was longer than in nonresected patients (n = 532; 11.9 vs. 8.5 months, P < 0.001). Multivariable analyses identified ASA score III-IV (P < 0.001) as a predictor of postoperative mortality and solid organ metastasis (P = 0.009), localized PC (P = 0.004), diffuse PC (P = 0.046), and signet ring cell histology (SRC; P = 0.02) as predictors of survival. Only ASA I-II patients with incomplete resection without metastasis or PC, one site solid organ metastasis without PC, or localized PC without SRC had a survival benefit after palliative surgery with median survivals from 12.0 to 18.3 months. Nonresected ASA I-II patients with same risk factors had median survivals from 3.5 to 8.8 months (P < 0.05 for each).
Conclusions: In AGJA, patient and tumor-related factors should be used to select candidates for palliative surgery in association with chemotherapy.