Research Article

Resection line disease in stomach cancer. British Stomach Cancer Group.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 08 September 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:601


In a prospective multicentre study of gastric adenocarcinoma the problem of microscopic disease at the resection line was investigated. Of 390 patients with resected gastric cancer, 85 (22%) had disease of the resection margins--32 at the oesophagus, 20 at the gastric margin, 17 at the duodenum, and six at both margins (10 were unspecified). Some 105 resections were considered palliative and 285 curative; 39 and 46 respectively had resection line disease. When resection margin clearance had been achieved a significantly improved survival was found, both overall (p = 0.0001), in the curative group (p = 0.0009), and in those with serosal disease but no microscopic disease of the lymph nodes (p = 0.0109). When the resection margin was diseased the survival rate for TNM stage IIS fell to that of stage IVA; 16% of those having curative surgery had had inadequate resections. The results of this study show that microscopic disease at the resection line influences long term survival and that surgeons should ensure that resection lines are clear. It also shows that the classification of patients who have resection line disease should be downgraded to stage IVA in the TNM staging system and they should be considered to have had only a palliative resection.