Background: This ongoing study is a prospective evaluation of immediately preoperative video-laparoscopy compared to ultrasound/computed tomography (US/CT) staging for gastric cancer. An analysis of the first 70 cases is reported. Methods: TNM staging is used to compare the US/CT findings and the laparoscopic findings with the gold standard for pathologic findings in resected specimens. Results: In our series 47 out of 70 cases are locally advanced cancers (stages III and IV): In this subset the predictive value of laparoscopic staging is 86.4%. Laparoscopy shows an overall staging accuracy of 68.6%, compared to 32.8% for US/CT. The difference is statistically significant as regards the T factor (T3: 69.7% vs 12.1%, p < 0.002; T4: 84.2% vs 42.1%, p < 0.05); as regards the M factor, laparoscopy appears the most specific method for detecting peritoneal seeding. Conclusions: This procedure plays a crucial role in determining the resectability of the tumor, thus avoiding unnecessary laparotomies. A meticulous staging becomes mandatory when applying modem treatment options (e.g., neo-adjuvant chemotherapy) to locally advanced cancers; in this context the use of staging laparoscopy will have a relevant impact on future treatment.
- Gastric cancer staging