Failure to operate on resectable gastric cancer: implications for policy changes and regionalization

Heather A. Frohman, Jeremiah T. Martin, Anh Thu Le, Sean P. Dineen, Ching Wei D. Tzeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background A significant proportion of patients never receive curative-intent surgery for resectable gastric cancer (GC). The primary aims of this study were to identify disparities and targetable risk factors associated with failure to operate in the context of national trends in surgical rates for resectable GC. Methods The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients with resectable GC (adenocarcinoma, clinical stage IA-IIIC, 2004-2013). Multivariate modeling was used to identify predictors of resection and to analyze the impact of surgery on overall survival (OS). Results Of 46,970 patients with resectable GC, 18,085 (39%) did not receive an appropriate operation. Among unresected patients, 69% had no comorbidities. Failure to resect was associated with reduced median OS (44.4 versus 11.8 mo, hazard ratio [HR]: 2.09, P < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, the most critical factors affecting OS were resection (HR: 2.09) and stage (reference IA; HR range: 1.16-3.50, stage IB-IIIC). Variables independently associated with no surgery included insurance other than private or Medicare (odds ratio [OR]: 1.60/1.54), nonacademic/nonresearch hospital (OR: 1.16), non-Asian race (OR: 1.72), male (OR: 1.19), older age (OR: 1.04), Charlson-Deyo score >1 (OR: 1.17), residing in areas with median income <$48,000 (OR: 1.23), small urban populations <20,000 (OR: 1.41), and stage (reference IA; OR range: 1.36-3.79, stage IB-IIIC, P < 0.001). Conclusions Over one-third of patients with resectable GC fail to receive surgery. Suitable insurance coverage and treatment facility are the most salient (and only modifiable) risk factors for omitting surgery. To mitigate national disparities in surgical care, policymakers should consider improving insurance coverage in underserved areas and regionalization of gastric cancer care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 15 2017


  • Early cancer
  • Failure to operate
  • Gastrectomy
  • Gastric cancer
  • Resectable
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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