A retrospective study of 223 patients treated for early gastric cancer (EGC) is reported, representing 21.2 per cent of the 1051 patients with gastric cancer treated over the same period. Two main types of surgical procedure were used: subtotal resection of the stomach for EGC of the two lower thirds and total gastrectomy for lesions of the upper third. A lymphadenectomy of groups 1 and 2, according to the procedure of the Japanese Research Society for Gastric Cancer (R2 resection), was performed in all patients. The mean duration of follow-up was 7.5 years. Univariate analysis showed a significant difference in survival rates only between patients with and without involved nodes (log rank = 6.05, P = 0.0139). Other prognostic factors were not identified. A bivariate analysis was, performed to evaluate the joint effect of node status and the Kodama classification: survival rates for patients with EGC of the penetrating (Pen) A type and node positive falls to around 57 per cent within 6 years. This group of patients has a tumour that should probably be considered as a 'non-early' lesion. To improve the survival of patients with a Pen A, node positive lesion, adjuvant chemotherapy may be appropriate.
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