Background: Elderly patients with gastric cancer are frequently treated surgically in current clinical practice. Although several studies have investigated short-term outcomes after gastrectomy in elderly patients, most did not evaluate long-term outcomes. Methods: We analyzed 1154 consecutive patients who underwent curative gastrectomy for gastric cancer between 2001 and 2013. We classified them into two groups: the elderly group (n = 241), consisting of patients aged ≥75 years, and the non-elderly group (n = 913), consisting of patients aged <75 years, and compared the short- and long-term outcomes between the two groups. The risk factors for death from other diseases in elderly patients were also examined. Results: Although the incidence of postoperative pneumonia was significantly higher in the elderly group (P < 0.001), the proportion of overall postoperative complications did not differ significantly between the two groups (P = 0.097). The disease-specific survival was similar between the two groups (P = 0.743), whereas the overall survival in the elderly group was significantly shorter than that in the non-elderly group (P < 0.001) because of a higher incidence of death from other diseases throughout all gastric cancer stages. Multivariate analysis revealed that a low preoperative prognostic nutrition index (PNI) and multiple comorbidities were significant risk factors for death from other diseases within 5 years in the elderly group. Conclusions: Despite acceptable short-term outcomes, long-term outcomes in elderly patients with gastric cancer were poor due to the high incidence of death from other diseases. Indications for surgery in elderly patients with a low PNI or multiple comorbidities should be considered carefully.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes