Background: The surgical care of patients with metastatic gastric cancer (GC) remains debated. Despite level 1 evidence showing lack of survival benefit, surgery may be used for symptoms prevention or palliation. This study examined short-term postoperative outcomes of non-curative gastrectomy performed for metastatic GC. Methods: A multi-institutional retrospective cohort study was conducted using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) registry, including gastrectomies for GC (2007–2015). The primary outcome was 30-day major morbidity. Multivariable analysis examined the association between metastatic status and outcomes adjusted for relevant demographic and clinical covariates. Results: Of 5341 patients, 377 (7.1%) had metastases. Major morbidity was more common with metastases (29.4 vs. 19.6%; p < 0.001), driven by a higher rate of respiratory events. Prolonged hospital length of stay (beyond the 75th percentile: 11 days) was more likely with metastases than with no metastases (41.9 vs. 28.3%; p < 0.001). After adjustment, metastatic status was associated with major morbidity (odds ratio [OR], 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16–1.90). This association remained for respiratory events (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.07–2.33), 30-day mortality (OR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.38–3.48), and prolonged hospital stay (OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.31–2.07). Conclusion: Non-curative gastrectomy for metastatic GC was associated with significant major morbidity and mortality as well as a prolonged hospital stay, longer than expected for gastrectomy for non-metastatic GC. These data can inform decision making regarding non-curative gastrectomy, helping surgeons to weigh the risks of morbidity against the potential benefits and alternative therapeutic options.
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