Background Patients with alpha-fetoprotein (afp)-producing gastric cancer have a high incidence of liver metastasis and poor prognosis. There is some controversy about clinical manifestations in these patients. Methods Our study enrolled patients who, before surgery, had gastric cancer with serum afp exceeding 20 ng/mL [AFP>20 (n = 58)] and with serum AFP 20 ng/mL or less [AFP≤20 (n = 1236)]. Clinical manifestations were compared between the groups. prognosis. More aggressive management with mul-timodal therapy (for example, chemotherapy, radiotherapy) might be needed when treating such patients. Results Early gastric cancer was more frequent (30.1% vs. 4%) and advanced gastric cancer was less frequent (69.9% vs. 96%) in the AFP≤20 group than the AFP>20 group (p < 0.001). Liver and lymph node metastasis occurred less frequently in the AFP≤20 group (4.4% vs. 27.6%, p < 0.001, and 60.7% vs. 91.4%, p < 0.001, respectively). The 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates of AFP≤20 patients were 75.2%, 53.4%, 45.8%, and 34.6% respectively. The 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates of patients with AFP greater than 20 ng/mL, but 300 ng/ mL or less, were 46.7%, 28.9%, 17.8%, and 13.3% respectively. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates of patients with serum AFP greater than 300 ng/mL were 15.4%, 7.7%, and 0% respectively. The independent predictors for survival time were AFP concentration, age, peritoneal seeding, liver metastasis, lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion, TNM stage, curative surgery, serosal invasion, and Lauren classification. Conclusions Patients with high serum AFP had a high frequency of liver and lymph node metastasis and very poor prognosis. More aggressive management with multimodal therapy (for example, chemotherapy, radiotherapy) might be needed when treating such patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas