Peri-operative blood transfusion in gastric cancer surgery: prognostic or confounding factor?

Int J Surg. 2013:11 Suppl 1:S100-3. doi: 10.1016/S1743-9191(13)60027-8.


Background and purpose: The relationship between peri-operative blood transfusions (PBTs) and poor prognosis in gastric cancer (GC) patients is still debated. The aim of this study is to examine the real prognostic impact of PBTs in comparison to well-known prognostic factors.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a series of 224 patients who underwent surgery with curative intent for GC from January 1995 to December 2011. Among 224 patients, 46 (20%) required PBTs.

Results: The overall 5-year survival was 77% in non-transfused patients and 65% in patients who received PBTs (p = 0.03). PBTs did not further stratify any recognized prognostic category (such as pT or pN according to the 7th edition of the TNM staging system). Multivariate analysis including all known prognostic variables (both cancer- and non-cancer-related) did not select PBTs as an independent prognostic factor. Only preoperative hemoglobin and albumin level, pT and operative time were significantly associated with the requirement for PBTs.

Conclusions: The study showed a worse prognosis for transfused patients, but PBTs seem a confounding factor more than a prognostic indicator, as they are obviously affected by other variables.

Keywords: Gastric cancer; Peri-operative blood transfusion; Survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Transfusion / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy / adverse effects
  • Gastrectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Perioperative Care / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transfusion Reaction