Introduction: The signet ring cell (SRC) histological subtype is a factor of poor prognosis in advanced gastric adenocarcinomas, but its prognostic value in early gastric cancer is unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic impact of SRC in superficial gastric adenocarcinomas, based on a comparison of patients with SRC and non SRC histologies.
Patients and methods: From a large national cohort of 3,010 patients operated on for gastric adenocarcinoma between January 1997 and January 2010, we selected patients with pTis or pT1 tumors and compared those with SRC and non SRC histology on the basis of demographic, surgical and histologic factors and outcomes. The primary endpoint was the 3-year survival rate.
Results: Among 421 patients with a pTis or pT1 tumor, 104 (24.7%) had the SRC subtype and 317 (75.3%) a non SRC subtype. Median age was significantly lower in the SRC group than in the non SRC group (59.6 vs 68.8 years, p<0.001). Other demographic variables were similar in the two groups. Extensive surgical resection was more frequent in the non SRC group (31.9% vs 12.5%, p<0.001), but R0 resection rates were similar (97.5% vs 98.1%, p=0.900). The submucosa was more frequently involved in the SRC group (94.2% vs 84.9%, p=0.043), while lymph node involvement and the number of invaded nodes were similar in the two groups. Recurrences (5.8% vs 8.8%, p=0.223) and sites of recurrence (especially peritoneal carcinomatosis, 1.9% vs 1.6% ; p=0.838) were similar in the two groups. The 3-year survival rate was similar in the SRC and non SRC groups (94.1% vs 89.9%, p=0. 403), although the median survival time had not been reached
Conclusion: SRC is not a prognostic factor in superficial gastric adenocarcinoma.