Operative and conservative management of primary gastric lymphoma: interim results of a German multicenter study.
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE Biology and appropriate management of gastrointestinal (GI lymphomas are matters of an ongoing controversial debate. To evaluate histological features, sites of involvement and management of primary GI-lymphomas, a prospective multicentric study was initiated in 10/1992. Aim of study was the further standardization of operative and conservative treatment modalities. MATERIALS AND METHODS Study started 10/1992 and was closed 11/1996. A total of 381 evaluable patients had been accrued then. Standardized diagnostic workup included endoscopic and radiological evaluation of the complete GI-tract as well as a central histological review. Diagnosis was established after Lewin, stage classification was made after Musshoff, and histological classification was made after Isaacson. Treatment decision concerning operative or conservative management was due to the initially acting physician. Patients with resection of low grade lymphoma received total abdominal irradiation 30 Gy + 10 Gy boost to incompletely resected areas. After resection of high grade lymphoma CHOP chemotherapy (4 cycles for stage IE, 6 cycles for higher stages) after McKelvy was followed by total abdominal irradiation 30 Gy for stage IE respectively involved field irradiation 30 Gy for higher stages with 10 Gy boost to incompletely resected areas. Primary conservative- treatment consisted of six cycles COP chemotherapy after Bagley for low grade lymphomas stage > IE and total abdominal irradiation 30 Gy + 10 Gy boost to involved areas for all stages. Patients with high grade lymphomas received 4 x CHOP followed by total abdominal irradiation 30 Gy + 10 Gy boost to involved areas or 6 x CHOP plus involved field radiation therapy with 40 Gy. 257 patients are considered for analysis due to exclusion criteria of the study, 190 of them were suffered from gastric lymphoma. Their median observation time is 29 months, maximum observation time is 68 months. RESULTS Sites of involvement were stomach in 73.4%, small bowel 9.6%, ileocoecal region 6.9%, and other sites 3.2% More than one GI site was involved in 6.9%. Gastric lymphomas achieved a survival probability of 89% after 3 years. Though surgical and conservative treatment was not randomized, outcome was analyzed in gastric NHL stages I and II (histologic subtype not considered showing no significant influence). At 3 and 5 years survival is 88% in resected cases vs. 94% and 86% in conservatively treated patients (p = 0.350). Analyzing only stages I + II(1) surgery also seems of no advantage even considering only RO-resections. There was one acute gastrointestinal bleeding under primary chemotherapy for a high grade lymphoma. Toxicities of grade III and IV WHO were rarely seen during treatment. All other acute toxicities were not more than grade II WHO. CONCLUSION Conservative treatment in this setting is feasible. The operative approach seems not to be advantageous compared to conservative treatment and should be critically reconsidered.