Multimodality management of locally advanced gastric cancer—the timing and extent of surgery
The optimal treatment for patients with locally advanced gastric adenocarcinoma is multimodal. Surgery is the cornerstone of therapeutic strategies with curative intent. The addition of chemotherapy or chemoradiation decreases rate of recurrence and prolongs survival. Guidelines differ between countries and there is no universal standard of care. Modern studies of patients with locally advanced gastric cancer showed that adjuvant chemotherapy improves survival over surgery alone in Asia. These studies could not be replicated in Europe. Peri-operative chemotherapy strategies, conversely, have been effective in Europe for improving overall and disease free survival. Adjuvant chemoradiation has also demonstrated improved survival when compared to surgery alone, but studies comparing chemotherapy with chemoradiation have not shown significant difference. Trials are ongoing to examine the role of chemoradiation in a neoadjuvant fashion. A D2 extent of lymphadenectomy improves cancer related survival for those who do not undergo distal pancreatectomy/splenectomy. Survival is also associated not only with the extent but also the number of lymph nodes examined. There are ongoing trials related to immunotherapy and targeted therapies, which may also impact or change the treatment paradigm for locally advanced gastric cancer.