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Effects of Preoperative Malnutrition on Short- and Long-Term Outcomes of Patients with Gastric Cancer: Can We Do Better?

Hua-Long Zheng, Jun Lu, Ping Li, Jian-Wei Xie, Jia-bin Wang, Jian-Xian Lin, Qi-Yue Chen, Long-long Cao, Mi Lin, Ruhong Tu, Chang-Ming Huang, Chao-Hui Zheng
Gastrointestinal Oncology
Volume 24, Issue 11 / October , 2017



The effects of preoperative malnutrition and preoperative correction of hypoalbuminemia (PCH) on the short- and long-term outcomes in patients with gastric cancer are unclear.


This study aimed to examine the effect of preoperative nutritional status on short- and long-term outcomes in patients who underwent radical gastrectomy, and also explored the role of PCH in malnourished patients with gastric cancer.


We prospectively reviewed data from patients with gastric cancer who were treated in our department between January 2009 and December 2014. The effect of preoperative nutritional status on short- and long-term outcomes in patients who underwent radical gastrectomy was investigated, and we explored whether PCH could improve the short- and long-term outcomes of these patients.


A total of 1976 patients were analyzed, including 412 patients in the malnourished group and 1564 in the well-nourished group. The overall incidence of complications in the malnourished group was significantly higher than the well-nourished group (21.4 vs. 15.5%, p = 0.005). Except for incision infection (3.2 vs. 1.6%, p = 0.041), there were no significant differences for other complications. In the malnourished group, 98 cases of preoperative hypoproteinemia were corrected (PCH group), whereas 314 cases were not (NPCH group). The incidence of incision infection in the PCH group was significantly lower than in the NPCH group (0 vs. 4.1%, p = 0.041). The median follow-up time was 39 months (1.0–88.0 months), and the 3-year overall survival (OS; 59.1 vs. 75%, p < 0.001) and disease-free survival (DFS; 54.8 vs. 72.5%, p < 0.001) rates were significantly lower in the malnourished group than in the well-nourished group. A multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that malnutrition was an independent prognostic factor for 3-year OS (hazard ratio [HR] 1.211, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–1.452, p = 0.039) and DFS (HR 1.168, 95% CI 1.013–1.398, p = 0.043). For the malnourished group with stage I gastric cancer, the PCH and NPCH groups showed no significant differences in 3-year OS (90.0 vs. 89.0%, p = 0.227) or DFS (90.0 vs. 87.3%, p = 0.363); however, for the malnourished group with stages II–III gastric cancer, the 3-year OS (69.9 vs. 47.6%, p = 0.013) and DFS (55.4 vs. 43.6%, p = 0.046) rates were significantly higher in the PCH group than in the NPCH group.


The incidence of incision infection was significantly higher in patients with malnutrition than in well-nourished patients. The 3-year OS and DFS rates were significantly lower in malnourished patients than in well-nourished patients. PCH may both reduce the incidence of incisional infection in patients with malnutrition and improve 3-year OS and DFS rates for malnourished patients with stages II–III gastric cancer; however, to confirm our findings, further studies are warranted.

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