Survival outcomes of patients with pathological stage I gastric cancer using the competing risks survival method

Victor Hugo Fonseca de Jesus, Wilson Luiz da Costa Junior, Tiago Cordeiro Felismino, Vinicius Fernando Calsavara, Alessandro Landskron Diniz, Heber Salvador de Castro Ribeiro, André Luis de Godoy, Igor Correia de Farias, Felipe José Fernandez Coimbra


Background: Patients with stage I gastric cancer are considered to have an exquisite prognosis. Nonetheless, the fact that some patients experience disease relapse highlights that a subgroup might benefit from multimodality treatment. We aimed to evaluate the survival of patients with stage I gastric cancer and look for harbingers of gastric cancer recurrence.
Methods: We looked for patients with stage I gastric cancer treated exclusively with surgery from 1996 to 2015. The competing risks survival method was used to allow for concurrent causes of mortality. Also, we calculated subdistribution hazards (SH) to reveal factors associated with cancer recurrence and death from unrelated causes.
Results: A total of 185 patients constitute the study population. Thirty-seven patients had pT2N0 tumors. Most patients (80.5%) were treated with D2 lymphadenectomy. The probability of relapse at 5 years was 3.0% and 8.6% in the study population and the pT2N0 subgroup, respectively. Among all 26 deaths, only six were related to gastric cancer. In multivariate analysis, perineural invasion (PNI) was associated with increased risk of gastric cancer recurrence.
Conclusions: The prognosis of stage I gastric cancer treated with D2 lymphadenectomy is excellent. PNI may indicate higher likelihood of recurrence. Further work in this field should account for the higher risk of death from unrelated causes.