About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Watch Out: Stomach Cancer No Longer Just a Disease of the Old

by Adeline Dorcas on July 2, 2019 at 12:19 PM
Font : A-A+

Watch Out: Stomach Cancer No Longer Just a Disease of the Old

Stomach cancer can occur even at an early age. Therefore, greater awareness is needed to reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer in under-40s, especially in Latin America.

Stomach cancer should no longer be considered a disease only of older people, and patients under 40 with chronic digestive symptoms should be more actively investigated - especially if they are of Latin American ethnicity. This advice follows new data from a retrospective, observational study in Mexico, which showed that one in seven of over 2,000 patients diagnosed with gastric cancer between 2004 and 2016 were under 40. These findings, reported at the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2019, support US National Cancer Institute data showing that gastric cancer is affecting more young Hispanic people, with worse outcomes than in older patients.


"At our centre, we have seen a 120% increase in gastric cancer in younger patients in the last 12 years and this increase has been mainly in female patients who typically present with more advanced disease and worse prognostic indicators than men, with an adverse impact on survival," said study author Dr German Calderillo-Ruiz, from the National Cancer Institute, Tlalpan, Mexico.

In the Mexican study, over half of patients under 40 with gastric cancer were women, in contrast to previous research, which has typically shown that gastric cancer is most common in men. Female patients in Mexico were more likely to have diffuse-type and poorly differentiated tumors and later stage disease at diagnosis than male patients, with a significantly lower overall survival.

"The lack of financial resources may impact on women's behavior of delaying pursuit of medical care when gastric symptoms appear. We hope this research will encourage clinicians and patients to be more aware of the risk of gastric cancer in younger people and, in particular, to encourage women with gastric symptoms to seek medical help sooner," said Calderillo-Ruiz.

Commenting on the implications of the research, Dr Rodrigo Dienstmann, from Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain, highlighted the combination of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to gastric cancer and the fact that young people with gastric cancer have more aggressive disease which is less responsive to curative treatment.

"We cannot change the genetic factors, but we can act on the unhealthy diet, obesity, and untreated Helicobacter pylori infection, which increase the risk of gastric cancer. Helicobacter infection can cause chronic inflammation and lesions that are precursors to gastric cancer but, once diagnosed, can be cured with a combination of antibiotics and drugs to reduce stomach acid," said Dienstmann.

"Younger people who regularly experience indigestion, heartburn, or other gastric symptoms should not ignore them but should go to their doctor as they probably need diagnostic tests. In addition, clinicians should not ignore the possibility of gastric cancer in young population, particularly in Latin America or among Hispanics in North America," concluded Dienstmann.

Following the latest research in Mexico, epidemiological and molecular studies are being conducted in Latin America and Europe to investigate the different molecular subtypes of gastric cancer in the regions and improve our understanding of risk factors in these populations.

Study Results

In the Mexican study, data from 2,022 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma diagnosed between 2004 and 2016 were analyzed, of whom 290 patients (14%) were under 40. Of these, 54% were women, and 46% were men. Women had higher levels of factors indicating poor prognosis than men: diffuse-type tumour (68% vs 32%; P=0.127), ring-seal cells (76% vs 69%; P=0.049), poorly-differentiated (89% vs 84%; P=0.014) and higher prevalence of stage IV disease (59% vs 41%; P=0.011).

Overall survival was a median of 7 versus 8 months for women and men respectively (P=0.03; hazard ratio (HR) 1.29; 95% CI, 1.05-1.65). Median overall survival was significantly worse in patients with tumors at the oesophagogastric junction: 7 vs 14 months (P=0.23; HR 0.68; 95% CI, 1.05-2.688) and more advanced disease: clinical-stages I-III, locally advanced and stage IV 33, 12, and 5 months, respectively (P=0.001; HR=2.28; 95% CI, 1.72-3.01). Independent predictors of overall survival were maintained in a Cox-Regression analysis: gender (P=0.038, HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.01-1.65), primary tumor (P=0.02, HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.05-2.68) and clinical-stage (P=0.001, HR 2.28, 95% CI 1.72-3.01).

Source: Eurekalert


Recommended Reading

Latest Cancer News

 Myelofibrosis: New Drugs to Revolutionize Treatment
The approvals of pipeline drugs such as momelotinib and Vonjo for myelofibrosis (a rare type of blood cancer) over some time will handle the critical unmet needs.
 Blood Vessels Can Kill Cancer Cells and Stop Breast Cancer Spread
New study highlights the dual role that blood vessels can play in cancer immunotherapy and eliciting anti-tumor immune responses or even preventing breast cancer spread.
 Weed Killer Agent Orange May Increase the Risk of Blood Cancer Among Veterans
New study evaluated the association between exposure to the chemical agent orange and the development of blood cancer with increased bleeding and blood clot formation.
Two Years: Optimal Duration of Immunotherapy in Advanced Lung Cancer
Study suggests two-year immunotherapy treatment for advanced lung cancer may be reasonable
Hope for Lethal Brain Tumors: Targeted Therapy Delays Glioma Progression
A ray of hope for glioma patients as targeted therapy boosts treatment duration.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Watch Out: Stomach Cancer No Longer Just a Disease of the Old Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests