There is still no consensus on the follow-up frequency and regimen after curative resection for gastric cancer. Moreover, controversy exists regarding the utility of follow-up in improving survival, and the recommendations of experts and societies vary considerably. The main reason to establish surveillance programs is to diagnose tumor recurrence or metachronous cancers early and to thereby provide prompt treatment and prolong survival. In the setting of gastric malignancies, other reasons have been put forth: (1) the detection of adverse effects of a previous surgery, such as malnutrition or digestive sequelae; (2) the collection of data; and (3) the identification of psychological and/or social problems and provision of appropriate support to the patients. No randomized controlled trials on the role of follow-up after curative resection of gastric carcinoma have been published. Herein, the primary retrospective series and systematic reviews on this subject are analyzed and discussed. Furthermore, the guidelines from international and national scientific societies are discussed. Follow-up is recommended by the majority of institutions; however, there is no real evidence that follow-up can improve long-term survival rates. Several studies have demonstrated that it is possible to stratify patients submitted to curative gastrectomy into different classes according to the risk of recurrence. Furthermore, promising studies have identified several molecular markers that are related to the risk of relapse and to prognosis. Based on these premises, a promising strategy will be to tailor follow-up in relation to the patient and tumor characteristics, molecular marker status, and individual risk of recurrence.
Follow-up after curative resection for gastric cancer: Is it time to tailor it?
World J Gastroenterol. 2017;23(19):3379-3387.
MeSH terms: Biomarkers, Tumor; Carcinoma; Disease Progression; Endoscopy; Europe; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Neoplasm Recurrence, Local; Risk; Stomach Neoplasms; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Treatment Outcome