Background: The present study is a prospective evaluation of immediate preoperative laparoscopy compared to ultrasound/computed tomography (US/CT) staging for gastric cancer in a series of 100 patients observed at two major Italian hospitals from April 1995 through September 1996. Methods: After a complete preoperative work-up all c-M0 patients underwent laparoscopy immediately prior to an eventual surgical exploration. pTNM was considered as the gold standard for the evaluation of the results. Results: Laparoscopy detected 21 unsuspected M+ cases out of 100. As regards locally advanced tumors, laparoscopy showed a sensibility of 69.7% for T3 and 89.6% for T4, significantly higher than US/CT staging (23.2% and 48.3%, respectively; p < 0.02). In this series laparoscopic staging altered clinical staging in 58% of cases. Conclusions: This procedure plays two crucial roles in the preoperative evaluation of advanced gastric cancer: It makes it possible to avoid unnecessary surgical exploration in M+ cases and, to date, it represents the most reliable and economic tool for the selection of locally advanced tumors in the light of neoadjuvant treatment.
- Gastric cancer staging
- Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy