Surgical management of metastatic gastric cancer: moving beyond the guidelines
Despite decreasing incidence, gastric cancer remains a major health problem worldwide and is associated with poor survival. The poor survival is mainly attributed to delayed presentation which may cause local or systemic metastases. The standard of care for patients with metastatic gastric cancer (MGC) is palliative chemotherapy with best supportive care. Although the survival has improved owing to advances in chemotherapeutic agents, it is still unsatisfactory, and some perspective changes are needed in the management of MGC to improve the outcomes. Therefore, various alternative treatment strategies for MGC have formed the most important research topics. Liver-directed treatment (LDT) options such as liver resection, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), and hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy (HAIC) have been studied in the management of liver metastasis from gastric cancer (LMGC). Intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IPC) in addition to cytoreductive surgery (CRS) aiming to remove all macroscopic tumor focus resulting from peritoneal dissemination is the treatment option for peritoneal metastasis, while para-aortic lymph node dissection is the treatment option for para-aortic lymph node metastasis which is considered to be M1 disease. Conversion surgery is a novel concept aiming at R0 resection for originally unresectable or marginally resectable tumors after a remarkably good response to the chemotherapy. Large amounts of data in the literature have demonstrated the benefits of individualized approaches such as the combination of systemic and local treatment options in selected patient groups. In this review, we aimed to explore the current and future treatment options by reviewing the literature on this controversial topic.