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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Apr 1;21(7):813-20.

Missing gastric cancer in dyspepsia.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.



Dyspepsia is common in gastric cancer, but also in many benign conditions. European Helicobacter pylori Study Group and American Gastroenterological Association guidelines recommend endoscopy in dyspepsia for patients with alarm symptoms or at age >45 years. However, recommendations are controversial.


To investigate whether criteria for endoscopy in patients with dyspepsia are adequate to detect gastric cancer.


In 215 patients at initial diagnosis of gastric adenocarcinoma, symptoms were classified as alarm and non-alarm. Cases were staged according to the TNM system. Stages T(1)-T(3)N(x)M(0) were defined as potentially curable.


Dyspepsia was present in 128 patients. Among patients with dyspepsia, 15 were < or =45 years and 41 denied alarm symptoms. The combination of both criteria excluded only three (2.3%) patients from endoscopy, but increasing the threshold to >50 and >55 years would have raised the rate of excluded patients to seven (5.5%) and 11 (8.6%). Only 53 potentially curable stages and 18 early gastric cancers occurred, but the tumour stage was not associated with dyspepsia duration, age threshold of 45 years, or alarm symptoms.


Our results support current European Helicobacter Study Group and American Gastroenterological Association criteria for endoscopy in patients with dyspepsia to detect gastric cancer. Regardless, most cancers are advanced at detection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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