Surgery for gastric cancer in patients with cirrhosis

Surg Today. 1997;27(1):17-21. doi: 10.1007/BF01366934.


To clarify the therapeutic strategies for gastric cancer surgery in the presence of cirrhosis, 39 patients with gastric cancer accompanied by liver cirrhosis were reviewed. Severe postoperative complications developed in 10 patients (25.6%), and there were 4 (10.3%) hospital deaths. 1 (2.6%) of which occurred within 1 month. Although extended lymph node dissection of D2 or more was adopted for low-risk patients, 3 of 19 patients who underwent such extensive operations, most of which involved complete lymph node dissection in the hepatoduodenal ligament, died. Conversely, only 1 of 20 patients who underwent limited lymph node dissection of D1 or less died. Postoperative massive ascites developed in 6 patients, 3 of whom died. The cumulative 5-year survival rate following curative resection was 63.7% for patients with early gastric cancer, and 13.9% for those with advanced gastric cancer. The most frequent cause of death was cirrhosis-related, such as hepatic failure or hepatoma. In conclusion, extensive lymph node dissection for patients with gastric cancer accompanied by cirrhosis carried a risk of postoperative fatal massive ascites as lymphorrhea. Thus, lymph node dissection in the hepatoduodenal ligament should be avoided, except in patients with evident metastases, and as a rule, aggressive surgery should not be performed in cirrhotic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects*
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / complications
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Survival Rate