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ABSTRACT Background Gastric cancer (GC) represents the sum of advanced gastric cancer (AGC) and early gastric cancer (EGC). Endoscopy (with biopsies) is the gold standard for detection of GC, but a false-negative rate of up to 19% is reported. Aim To determine whether patients with GC had had an oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD) in the year preceding diagnosis that might reasonably have been expected to detect the cancer, as a measure of quality assurance of endoscopic practice. Methods Patients with histologically proven GC were identified from pathology records. Endoscopy reports and case notes were examined to identify any OGD before diagnosis, the interval and endoscopic findings. A false-negative OGD was defined as one where GC was neither suspected nor shown at pathology, but where a diagnosis of GC was made within 12 months. Results Between January 2005 and February 2008, 9764 OGDs were performed. GC was diagnosed in 74 patients (male/female ratio 2.89; median age 76, range 38–95). Nine (12%) patients had EGC. There were no differences in age, sex or symptoms between the EGC and AGC group. Sixty-eight of the 74 patients with GC (92%) presented with alarm symptoms. Ten of the 74 had had an OGD within 12 months before definitive diagnosis; all these were planned because of suspicious lesions. Significantly fewer biopsies were performed at OGDs preceding definitive diagnosis (median 2 (0–10) vs 6 (2–12); p=0.002). Conclusion False-negative rates of 0% (within 12 months) and 8% (within 3 years) for diagnosis of GC are reassuring, but an inadequate number of biopsies compromises the quality assurance of endoscopy. GC presents without alarm symptoms in <10%.

Original publication




Journal article


Postgraduate Medical Journal


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





335 - 339