Gender and age impact stomach cancer prognosis

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older men and younger women fare worse with stomach, or “gastric” cancer than patients in other gender and age groups, research shows.

Dr. Sung-Soo Park, from Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, and co-researchers hypothesized that the difference in disease outcomes is related to sex hormones and suggest that further studies be performed to confirm this.

Their findings, reported in the Archives of Surgery this month, are based on a study of nearly 1,300 patients with gastric cancer who were seen at Korea University Medical Center from 1993 to 2000. The subjects included 175 (13.5 percent) aged 40 years or younger and 1124 (86.5 percent) older than 40.

Tumor characteristics differed significantly between the two age groups and yet in the overall analysis, the prognosis of younger and older patients was comparable.

The differences in survival did not emerge until the researchers divided the subjects by both age and gender.

Younger men had the best 10-year survival at 62.5 percent, while older men had the worst at 44.6 percent. Older and younger women had intermediate survival rates at 56.2 percent and 51.9 percent, respectively.

The present findings suggest “strongly” that both age and gender must be taken into account when predicting survival from gastric cancer, the investigators conclude.

SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, November 2008.

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