Early gastric cancer. Clinicopathologic study
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
The incidence and clinicopathologic features of early gastric cancer encountered among surgical specimens from gastric resections for carcinoma in a recent three-year period, 1977 to 1979, at the Mallory Institute of Pathology were studied and compared with those of a pre-endoscopic period 10 years earlier, 1967 to 1969. It was found that early gastric cancer now comprises a greatly increased proportion of lesions leading to gastric resection, mainly as a result of endoscopy and biopsy of gastric ulcers of benign appearance. In the recent period, there were six early gastric cancers in a total of 22 gastric resection specimens compared with one in 27 gastric resections performed for carcinoma in the pre-endoscopy period. Five of the six patients in the recent period are alive without evidence of disease four to five years following surgical resection. The single patient in the earlier period died postoperatively. Applying the classification of the Japanese Endoscopic Society, there were three depressed or ulcerated lesions (type IIc or III), three elevated or polypoid lesions (type I or IIa), and a single flat lesion (type IIb). All three ulcerated lesions were interpreted as benign peptic ulcers on conventional upper gastrointestinal studies. Findings on endoscopic biopsy were positive in all cases (six of six). Although not encountered frequently in the United States, early gastric cancer, nonetheless, appears to be indistinguishable from the disease as it is described in Japan in terms of its pathologic morphology, growth patterns, coexistent or related lesions of the stomach, and curability by surgical resection. If early gastric cancer is to be recognized more frequently, knowledge of the disease and a high index of suspicion on the part of physicians are essential.