Background The purpose of this study was to clarify the surgical indications for gastrectomy combined with distal or partial pancreatectomy (GP) in patients with gastric cancer. Methods From January 1994 to December 2009, 29 patients with primary gastric cancer surgically invading the pancreas without distant organ metastasis underwent GP for R0 resection. The patients' characteristics, surgical data, and clinicopathological features were used for the analysis of survival and prognostic factors. Results The median disease-free survival and median survival time (MST) of all patients were 15 and 30 months, respectively. Only pN3 status (characterized by 7 or more pathologically metastatic lymph nodes) according to the Japanese Classification of Gastric Carcinoma, 14th edition, was shown to be a prognostic factor in a multivariate analysis. The MST of the patients with pN3 and the other patients were 12 and 51 months, respectively (p<0.001). Conclusions We suggest that pancreas invasion should not be considered a contraindication for gastrectomy and that patients with a small number of lymph node metastases (six or fewer) might be candidates for GP in the case of gastric cancer that requires pancreatectomy for R0 resection.
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