Background: Laparoscopic gastrectomy has become a common surgical treatment for gastric cancer in eastern Asian countries. However, a large-scale prospective study to investigate the benefit of laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG) regarding long-term outcomes has never been reported. We have already reported the short-term outcomes of this study. Here we report long-term outcomes as the secondary endpoints of this study after a 5-year follow-up period.
Methods: This study comprised patients with clinical stage I gastric cancer who were able to undergo a distal gastrectomy. LADG with D1 plus suprapancreatic lymph node dissection was performed by credentialed gastric surgeons who had each conducted at least 30 LADG and 30 open gastrectomy procedures. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who developed either anastomotic leakage or pancreatic fistula. The secondary endpoints included overall survival and relapse-free survival.
Results: From November 2007 to September 2008, 176 eligible patients were enrolled, comprising 140 patients with pathological stage IA disease, 23 patients with pathological stage IB disease, 9 patients with pathological stage II disease, and 4 patients with pathological stage IIIA disease. No patients had recurrent disease, and three of the patients died within the follow-up period. The 5-year overall survival was 98.2% (95% confidence interval 94.4-99.4%) and the 5-year relapse-free survival was 98.2% (95% confidence interval 94.4-99.4%).
Conclusions: The long-term outcomes of stage I gastric cancer patients undergoing LADG seem comparable to those of patients undergoing an open procedure, although this result should be confirmed by a randomized control trial. We have already completed accrual of 921 patients for a multicenter randomized phase III trial (JCOG0912) to confirm the noninferiority of LADG compared with open gastrectomy in terms of relapse-free survival.
Keywords: Gastric cancer; Laparoscopic distal gastrectomy; Long-term survival; Prospective study.