Background and Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate whether microscopic positive margins are detrimental to the outcome of gastric cancer patients treated with extended (D2/3) gastrectomy. Methods: Among 2,740 consecutive patients who had undergone extended gastrectomy for advanced gastric cancer between January 1987 and December 2002, 49 patients (1.8%) had positive resection margins on final histology. Results: Among 49 patients, 29 (59.2%) had proximal involved margins and 20 (40.8%) had distal involved margins. The median survival time of the positive margin group was 34 months. The negative margin group had a significantly longer median survival time of 69 months (P = 0.025). When both groups of patients were stratified according to nodal stage, a positive resection margin determined a worse prognosis only in patients with node-negative disease (174 months vs. 37 months, P = 0.0001). In patients with nodal metastasis, the median survival time was similar in both groups. Conclusions: Our results suggest that a positive microscopic margin is associated with a worse outcome in patients with node-negative disease. Therefore, a more aggressive treatment, such as re-operation, is needed in node-negative patients with a positive microscopic disease.
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