Gastric cancer should no longer be considered a disease only of older people and patients under 40 years with chronic digestive symptoms should be more actively investigated, suggest the authors of a study presented at the 2019 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer.
The retrospective, observational study showed that one in seven studied Latin patients diagnosed with gastric cancer was aged under 40 years. The authors said the findings support US National Cancer Institute data that gastric cancer affects more young Hispanic people, with worse outcomes than in older patients.
In this Mexican study, data from 2,022 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma diagnosed between 2004 and 2016 were analysed, of whom 290 (14%) were aged under 40 years; of these, 54 per cent were women.
Women had higher levels of factors indicating poor prognosis than men: diffuse-type tumour (68% vs 32%; P=.127), ring-seal cells (76% vs 69%; P=.049), poorly differentiated (89% vs 84%; P=.014) and higher prevalence of stage IV disease (59% vs 41%; P=.011).
Overall survival was a median of seven versus eight months for women and men, respectively.
Median overall survival was significantly worse in patients with tumours at the oesophagogastric junction (seven vs 14 months) and more advanced disease.