Background: Gastric cancer is the most common cancer in Oman and a leading cause of cancer death. The variation in survival rates between countries and ethnic groups has been attributed to early detection policies, differences in clinicopathological features, treatment approaches, and biological characteristics. There were no previous reports on gastric cancer from Oman and very few studies on Asian Arabs. Aim: To evaluate the impact of clinicopathological and treatment variables on the survival prospects of Omani Arab patients diagnosed with gastric cancer. Methods: The medical records of 339 Omani Arab patients diagnosed with invasive gastric adenocarcinoma during the period 1993-2004 were retrospectively reviewed. The relative importance of clinicopathological features and surgical and medical treatments were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Most patients had distal ulcerating-type gastric cancer and presented at advanced stages. The median survival time for the entire cohort was 12 months (95% CI 9.7-14.4) with a 5-year overall survival rate of 16.7%. On univariate analysis of 237 patients who underwent surgical resection, the following positive prognostic factors emerged as significant: early overall TNM stage, early T stage, negative lymph nodes, tumor size <5 cm, ulcerating macroscopic appearance, and curative surgical attempt. The independent prognostic factors on multivariate analysis were T stage and lymph node involvement. Conclusion: The overall T and N stages are the most important determining factor for survival in Omani Arab patients. More efforts need to be made for the early detection of gastric cancer in developing countries such as Oman, while continuing to employ the standard surgical and medical treatments.
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