• Early gastric cancer (EGC) is characterized by tumor invasion limited to the submucosa, with or without regional lymph node involvement, and five-year survival rates in excess of 90%. Although infrequently reported in the United States, EGC represents 35% of gastric cancers in Japan. A retrospective analysis of all patients with gastric cancer (1972 through 1985) was performed to determine the frequency and most efficacious diagnostic modalities in this group of patients. Early gastric cancer was identified in 6% (17/302) of all these patients and in 28% (17/61) of patients undergoing curative resection. A review of presenting historical, physical, laboratory, radiologic, and endoscopic findings identified fiberoptic endoscopy as the most sensitive diagnostic procedure. Increased use of endoscopy in patients with persistent nonspecific gastrointestinal tract complaints may increase the number of patients seen with EGC.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:292-295)