New research is showing that multidisciplinary care that includes extensive gastrectomy following chemotherapy increases the survival rate for stage 4 progressive gastric cancer patients.
|Professor Park Jo-hyun (left) and clinical instructor Seo Ho-suk|
Findings from the research, conducted by a team led by Professor Park Jo-hyun and clinical instructor Seo Ho-suk from the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, was published in the International Society of Surgery's journal called World Journal of Surgery.
According to St. Mary’s, Korea has the highest gastric cancer occurrence rate in the world with data showing 19,545 people diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2015, accounting for 17 percent of all cancer occurrence.
Although the number of early diagnosis of gastric cancer has been rising thanks to improved diagnostic technology, more than half of diagnoses pertain to progressive end-stage cancer. End-stage or stage 4 cancers refer to a condition where cancer has spread to other organs such as the liver, lung, bone and peritoneum, or remote lymph nodes.
Survival rates for stage 4 gastric cancer patients are low. Although treatments such as surgeries and chemotherapy exist, most are aimed to alleviate symptoms and provide nutrition rather than stopping cancer from progressing.
The research team aimed to find which treatments would improve survival rates for end-stage cancer patients by analyzing 419 patients diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer from 2010 to 2015.
Physicians administered chemotherapeutic monotherapy to 212 patients, palliative gastrectomy after chemotherapy to 124 patients, conversion surgery (extensive gastrectomy after chemotherapy) to 23 patients, and conservative treatment of palliative purpose to 60 patients.
Results showed those who had conversion surgery therapy had a statistically significantly higher 3-year survival rate of 42.8 percent compared to 12 percent of the group receiving chemotherapy alone.
Analyzing only patients who were responsive to chemotherapy to check the efficacy of surgical treatment also showed statistical significance with the 3-year survival rate of the conversion surgery method standing at 61.1 percent and the chemotherapeutic monotherapy group’s standing at 16.2 percent.
"The survival rate for stage 4 progressive gastric cancer patients has been extremely low. This research will suggest a new treatment direction and hopefully give patients hope to dedicate themselves to treatment with their physician," said Professor Park, director of the Gastric Cancer Center at St. Mary's Hospital.
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