FRIDAY, April 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Extended lymph node dissection does not increase long-term survival for people with stomach cancer, says new research in the Netherlands.
The study was the largest randomized trial of limited and extended lymph node dissection among people with gastric cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer in the world.
Extended lymph node dissection involves the surgical removal of lymph nodes near the tumor, in distant areas of the stomach and, in some patients, removal of the spleen and pancreas tail.
"Long-term follow up of limited and extended lymph node dissection clearly demonstrates that neither improved survival nor decreased relapse rates can be obtained by extended dissection. In fact, extended lymph node dissection may even be harmful because of increased morbidity and hospital mortality associated with the procedure," study author Dr. H. H. Hartgrink said in a prepared statement.
The study was published online this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
An editorial in the same issue of the journal said the findings resolve a major debate among cancer experts about the benefits of extended lymph node dissection.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about stomach cancer.