Background: The optimal extent of resection for adenocarcinomas of the gastroesophageal junction is controversial. This study was conducted to examine whether the extent of resection is an independent prognostic factor in cardia cancer.
Methods: The records and survival data of 125 patients who underwent resection for cancer of the cardia were retrospectively analyzed. Multiple regression was used to evaluate prognostic factors in patients who underwent proximal gastric resection (PR) or total gastrectomy (TG) for cancer of the cardia.
Results: Seventy-five patients underwent PR and 50 TG. The 5-year survival was 40% for tumors confined to the esophageal wall (T1, T2), and 13% in more advanced cases (T1, T2; P = 0.0001). Twenty-two percent of the patients with tumor-free margins, 10% of those with microscopic residual tumor, and none with macroscopic residual tumor survived longer than 5 years (P = 0.0001 for any residual tumor versus no residual tumor). Lymph node involvement (P = 0.002) and stage (P = 0.0001) were also significant in the univariate analysis. Five-year survival was 18% after TG, and 17% after PR (P = NS).
Conclusion: Multiple regression identified residual tumor and penetration depth as independent predictors of survival (P = 0.0002, and P = 0.0001, respectively). After correction for these factors, none of the following variables were of additional significance: extent of resection (TG versus PR), lymph node involvement, age, or Lauren's classification. In 19 of 20 cases with microscopic incomplete resection, it was the oral margin that was positive. We conclude that the extent of resection (TG versus PR) does not influence survival in adenocarcinoma of the gastroesophageal junction.