To evaluate the benefit of R2 gastrectomy for gastric cancer in Japanese patients over 80 years of age, data on 93 patients who underwent gastrectomy between 1967 and 1989 were collected retrospectively from charts filed in the Kyushu University Hospital and two affiliated national hospitals. Of 93 patients, 62 had a localized tumor without evidence of metastatic spread. These 62 patients were classified into two groups according to the procedures performed: 35 underwent R1 gastrectomy and 27, R2 gastrectomy. The clinical and pathological characteristics of the patients in the two groups were comparable at the time of surgery, except that the group who underwent R1 gastrectomy was older. R2 gastrectomy involved a significantly longer operation time (P < 0.01) and greater intraoperative blood loss (P < 0.05) when compared to R1 gastrectomy, but no patient undergoing this extensive surgery died. The difference in the morbidity rate between the two groups was not statistically significant. The 5‐year survival rate was 55.8% in the R1 group and 65.4% in the R2 group. When gastric cancer invaded the serosa and/or secondary nodes, a substantial increase in survival time was gained with R2 gastrectomy when compared to an R1 operation. These findings suggest that an R2 gastrectomy is feasible, even for patients over 80 years, but is indicated mainly when the carcinoma has invaded the serosa and/or secondary nodes and the patients are at good risk for major surgery.
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