Background: A large proportion of patients attending open access endoscopy have histological and gross pathological findings that are potentially premalignant. The proportion of these patients who go on to develop malignancies and the timescale over which this occurs are uncertain.
Aims: This study aims to discover the incidence of gastric cancers in this “high risk” group and to examine the potential for their early diagnosis and treatment.
Patients: A total of 1753 patients attended open access endoscopy. From these, 166 patients with dysplasia, intestinal metaplasia, atrophic gastritis, foveolar hyperplasia, regenerative changes, polyps, or ulcers who agreed to undergo annual surveillance endoscopy were studied.
Methods: Patients were endoscoped annually. Additionally, patients with ulcers were re-examined at two monthly intervals until ulcer healing. Cancers detected were treated by gastrectomy.
Results: Twenty two of 1753 patients attending open access endoscopy had gastric cancer (1.3%). In the study population, 14 cancers were detected over 10 years (8.4 %). These were of an earlier stage than those detected at open access (stage I and II 67% v 23%; p<0.05) and five year survival was significantly higher (50% v 10%; p=0.006). In atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia the risk of malignancy was 11%.
Conclusions: In patients with atrophic gastritis or intestinal metaplasia, annual surveillance can detect most new tumours at an early stage with a major improvement in survival. Potential benefits of such a surveillance programme are large and warrant further investigation in a multicentre randomised controlled trial.
- gastric cancer
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