The role of surgery in the multimodal treatment of primary gastric non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. A report of 76 cases and review of the literature

P. G. Gobbi, P. Dionigi, F. Barbieri, F. Corbella, D. Bertoloni, G. Grignani, V. Jemos, C. Pieresca, E. Ascari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seventy-six patients with primary gastric non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (PGL) were diagnosed, and 75 were treated between 1975 and 1985. According to the Working Formulation 22 patients had low-grade malignant histologic subtypes, 27 intermediate-grade, and 27 high-grade. Twenty-four cases were diagnosed by endoscopic biopsies, 52 through laparotomy biopsies. Forty-five underwent subtotal or total gastric resection; seven were considered unresectable at laparotomy; 23 did not undergo surgery because of the high operative risk, mainly due to advanced age and coexisting diseases; and one died of myocardial infarction a few days after admission, before starting therapy. All patients who did not undergo laparotomy were staged with bipedal lymphangiography or abdominal ultrasonography and/or computed tomography. Stage, evaluated according to the criteria of Musshoff, was I or II1 in 16 cases, IL2 in five, and IV in the remaining 55. Treatment modalities included surgey (S), chemotherapy (CT), radiotherapy (RT), and combinations thereof in the following proportions: only S in ten cases, S + CT in 32 cases, S + RT in one case, S + CT + RT in two cases, CT only in 25 cases, CT + RT in five cases. No substantial differences in response to therapy and in survival were found in relation to the different treatments. Ten-year survival was 43% in Stage I or II and 20% in Stage IV. Of the 45 resected patients, five postoperative deaths were recorded (11%). No bleeding or perforations were observed in the 30 unresected patients, and survival of such cases compared with that of the resected ones. These findings, together with data from the literature, suggest that some of the advantages claimed for surgery in PGL (debulking and abatement of the risk of perforation or hemorrhage during CT or RT) have been overestimated in relation to the intrinsic surgical risk and to the possibility of anticancer therapy. Gastric resection may still be unavoidable as a diagnostic procedure in a minority of cases and may represent the primary therapeutic procedure in clinically assessed early-stage and low-risk patients, but it cannot be considered mandatory whenever possible merely for debulking purposes or to obviate possible perforation or hemorrhage. The CT and/or RT can be effective in unresected and even bulky cases, providing minimal risk of severe hemorrhage or perforation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2528-2536
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of surgery in the multimodal treatment of primary gastric non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. A report of 76 cases and review of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this