Recurrence of early gastric cancer is rare, with an incidence of less than 10% in Japan. Using peritoneal lavage cytological examination, we detected tumor cells in the peritoneal cavity of a 73-year-old man undergoing surgery for early gastric cancer. Peritoneal dissemination of early gastric cancer is rare. Thus, we summarized the clinicopathological findings of the total 15 cases of peritoneal dissemination of early gastric cancer documented in the English medical literature, including this case. All of the patients had a tumor size >2 cm, submucosal invasion, differentiated adenocarcinoma, lymph node metastasis, and a shorter disease-free interval (average 33.1 months) than patients with other types of recurrent early gastric cancer, and the involvement of both recurrent lymph nodes and peritoneal dissemination. Based on this analysis, we conclude that patients with early gastric cancer, especially if the tumor is >2 cm with submucosal invasion, should be examined carefully for any form of recurrence.
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