Surgical and oncological outcomes of D1 versus D2 gastrectomy among elderly patients treated for gastric cancer

Introduction: Gastrectomy with D2 lymphadenectomy is considered standard treatment in gastric cancer (GC). Among Western patients, morbidity and mortality seem to increase in D2 relative to D1 lymphadenectomy. As elderly patients with co-morbidities are more prone to possible complications, it is unclear whether they benefit from D2 lymphadenectomy. This study aims to compare the short- and long-term results of D1 and D2 lymphadenectomy in elderly patients undergoing gastrectomy for GC.

Methods: All elderly (⩾75 years) patients undergoing gastrectomy with curative intent for GC during 2000-2015 were included and grouped according to the level of lymph node dissection into the D1 or D2 group. Short-term surgical outcome included the Comprehensive Complication Index (CCI) and 30-day mortality. Long-term outcomes comprised overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), and disease-free survival (DFS). Cox regression was used in multivariable analyses.

Results: In total, 99 elderly patients were included in the study (51 in D1 group, 48 in D2 group). The median follow-up was 32.5 months. Patients in the D1 group were older and had a higher American Society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) score. Both groups had similar burden of postoperative complications (CCI 20.9 versus 22.6, p = 0.26, respectively) and 90-day mortality (2% for both groups). The OS, DSS, and DFS were similar between groups. Multivariable analysis adjusted for potential confounders detected no difference in the survival between the D1 and D2 groups.

Conclusions: Gastrectomy with D2 lymphadenectomy can be performed with low postoperative morbidity and mortality suggesting its use also in the elderly. Long-term outcomes seem similar but need further studies.

Keywords: Gastric cancer; complication; elderly; gastrectomy; lymph node dissection.