Gastrectomy for cancer beyond life expectancy. A comprehensive analysis of oncological gastric surgery in Germany between 2008 and 2018

Maximilian Berlet, Marie Christin Weber, Philipp Alexander Neumann, Helmut Friess, Daniel Reim

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2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Major gastric surgery for distal esophageal and gastric cancer has a strong impact on the quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Especially in elderly patients reaching their life expectancy, the responsible use and extent of gastrectomy are imperative to achieve a balance between harm and benefit. In the present study, the reimbursement database (German Diagnosis Related Groups (G-DRG) database) of the Statistical Office of the Federal Republic of Germany was queried to evaluate the morbidity and mortality of patients aged above or below 75 years following gastrectomy. Material and methods: All patients in Germany undergoing subtotal gastrectomy (ST), total gastrectomy (T), or gastrectomy combined with esophagectomy (TE) for gastric or distal esophageal cancer (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD-10) C15.2, C15.5, and C16.0–C16.9) between 2008 and 2018 were included. Intraoperative and postoperative complications as well as comorbidities, in-hospital mortality, and the extent of surgery were assessed by evaluating ICD-10 and operation and procedure key (Operationen- und Prozedurenschlüssel) codes. Results: A total of 67,389 patients underwent oncologic gastric resection in Germany between 2008 and 2018. In total, 21,794 patients received ST, 41,825 received T, and 3,466 received TE, respectively. In 304 cases, the combinations of these, in fact, mutually exclusive procedures were encoded. The proportion of patients aged 75 years or older was 51.4% (n = 11,207) for ST, 32.6% (n = 13,617) for T, and 28.1% (n = 973) for TE. The in-hospital mortality of elderly patients was significantly increased in all three groups. (p < 0.0001) General complications such as respiratory failure (p = 0.0054), acute renal failure (p < 0.0001), acute myocardial failure (p < 0.0001), and the need for resuscitation (ST/T: p < 0.0001/TE: p = 0.0218) were significantly increased after any kind of gastrectomy. Roux-en Y was the most commonly applied reconstruction technique in both young and elderly patients. Regarding lymphadenectomy, systematic D2 dissection was performed less frequently in older patients than in the younger collective in the case of ST and T as well as D3 dissection. Peritonectomy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy were uncommon in elderly patients alongside ST and T compared to younger patients (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: The clinical outcome of major oncological gastric surgery is highly dependent on a patient’s age. The elderly show a tremendously increased likelihood of in-hospital mortality and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1032443
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical outcome
  • comorbidity
  • elderly patients
  • esophageal cancer
  • gastrectomy
  • gastric cancer
  • mortality


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