Research Papers:

Metastatic spread in patients with gastric cancer

Matias Riihimäki _, Akseli Hemminki, Kristina Sundquist, Jan Sundquist and Kari Hemminki

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:52307-52316. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10740

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Matias Riihimäki1,2, Akseli Hemminki3,4, Kristina Sundquist2, Jan Sundquist2, Kari Hemminki1,2

1Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

2Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

3Cancer Gene Therapy Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland

4Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center, Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence to:

Matias Riihimäki, email: [email protected]

Keywords: gastric cancer, metastasis, epidemiology

Received: December 22, 2015     Accepted: June 16, 2016     Published: July 20, 2016


Background: The epidemiology of metastatic gastric cancer is unexplored because cancer registries seldom cover metastatic involvement apart from “present or not”. We used a novel approach by utilizing Swedish registers to assess metastatic spread in gastric cancer. To our knowledge, this is the first nationwide description of metastases in gastric cancer.

Results: The most common sites of metastasis were liver (in 48% of metastatic cancer patients), peritoneum (32%), lung (15%), and bone (12%). Metastases to the lung, nervous system, and bone were more frequent in cardia cancer and men, whereas non-cardia cancer more frequently metastasized within the peritoneum. Signet ring adenocarcinomas more frequently metastasized within the peritoneum, bone and ovaries, and less frequently to the lungs and liver compared with generic adenocarcinoma. The liver and the peritoneum were commonly single metastases while lung metastases occurred frequently together with liver metastases. The median survival in metastatic gastric cancer was 3 months, worst among those with bone and liver metastases (2 months).

Methods: A total of 7,559 patients with gastric cancer were identified. Metastatic patterns and survival depending on sex, age, stage, anatomical location (cardia and non-cardia), and histological type were assessed.

Conclusions: The patterns of metastasis differ notably depending on histological type. Cardia cancer exhibits a completely different metastatic behavior than non-cardia cancer. Awareness of the differing patterns may guide in tailored diagnosis of metastases. Survivors from cardia cancer would benefit from increased surveillance of extraperitoneal metastases. Bone metastases should be considered in patients with signet ring adenocarcinoma if symptoms emerge.

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PII: 10740