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Eur J Cancer. 1997 Aug;33(9):1413-8.

Carcinoma of the stomach following the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

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Department of Surgery, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC 20007, USA.


Medical consequences of many nuclear accidents on humans are well studied, but the results pertaining to gastric cancer patients who were exposed to radiation as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have not been analysed. In this study, the outcome of the surgical treatment of 68 gastric cancer patients who were exposed to radiation as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident was compared with that of 117 consecutive gastric cancer patients from uncontaminated areas of the Ukraine. Patients in the study group was significantly younger than that of the control group. Comparative analysis showed the same frequency of regional metastases (65.7% versus 71.1%, P > 0.05), but a smaller number of distant metastases (23.8% versus 38.1%, P < 0.05) in the study group. 41.2% of patients in the study group underwent total gastrectomy compared to 19.6% of patients in the control group (P = 0.002). Postoperative complications developed in 13.2% of patients in the study group, while postoperative mortality in the study group was 7.3% compared to 1.7% in the control group. A significant decrease in CD16 cells was noted in patients from the study group following the operative procedure. Young age, invasive tumours with smaller number of distant metastases, frequent necessity for total gastrectomy and combined operations with adjacent organs, a higher level of postoperative morbidity and mortality and low levels of natural killer cells (CD16+) with a tendency to decrease after surgery are characteristic of patients with carcinoma of the stomach affected by the Chernobyl accident.

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