Multicentre study of the safety of laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy for gastric cancer in the elderly. Cho GS, Kim W, Kim HH, Ryu SW, Kim MC, Ryu SY. Br J Surg. 2009 Dec;96(12):1437-1442. BACKGROUND:: The aim of this study was to assess the safety and short-term value of laparoscopic gastrectomy in the elderly with gastric cancer compared with a younger cohort. METHODS:: Data on all patients with gastric cancer undergoing laparoscopic gastrectomy at ten institutions in Korea between May 1998 and December 2005 were collected. Patients under the age of 45 years and those undergoing total gastrectomy, proximal gastrectomy and pylorus-preserving gastrectomy were excluded. An analysis of clinicopathological data for patients aged 45-69 years (average-age group) and those aged 70 years or more (elderly group) was undertaken. RESULTS:: Co-morbidity was more common and postoperative hospital stay was longer in elderly patients. Pre-existing pulmonary and cardiovascular disease in the elderly contributed to respiratory dysfunction and intraperitoneal complications respectively. Tumour size and location, stage, methods of reconstruction and the number of combined operations were similar in the two groups. There were no significant differences in postoperative morbidity or mortality. CONCLUSION:: Although elderly patients had greater co-morbidity, laparoscopic gastrectomy was a safe treatment for gastric cancer in this age group.