Purpose: Although many studies have demonstrated improvements in short-and long-term outcomes of gastric cancer surgery, changes in long-term survival over time are not well-established. This study was conducted to evaluate changes in host, tumor, and treatment factors in patients treated at a single institution over a period of 45-yr. Patients and Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 9282 patients with gastric cancer from 1955 to 1999, and divided the 45-yr into 4 time frames based on published articles: 1955 to 1962 (n = 228), 1963 to 1972 (n = 891), 1973 to 1988 (n = 2789), and 1989 to 1999 (n = 5374). Results: Remarkable changes were noted in host, tumor, treatment factors, and prognosis. Among host factors, patients of more advanced age were identified in the 4th period and mean age shifted from 49 to 55 yrs. Among tumor factors, early gastric cancers and upper body tumors increased up to 32% and from 7% to 13%, respectively. An increase in the annual number of patients (from 29 to 649), gastrectomies (from 14 to 600), rate of resection (from 50% to 90%), rate of curative resection (up to 92%), and proportion of total gastrectomy (from 8% to 29%) was noted. Operative mortality was reduced from 6.1% to 0.7%. The overall 5-yr survival rate significantly increased from 22% to 65%. Conclusion: Treatment results of gastric cancer surgery have improved remarkably over the 45-year period. Increase of early stage gastric cancer with early diagnosis considerably influenced the improved survival of patients with gastric cancer.
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