Background: Patients with stage I gastric cancer tend to wait for surgery. Although the cancer may progress during such a delay, effects of wait time for surgery on survival remain inconsistent. Here, we evaluated the safety of surgical wait time on survival of patients with clinical stage I gastric cancer. Methods: The outcomes of 556 patients who underwent gastrectomy for clinical stage I gastric cancer between January 2007 and December 2011 were retrospectively evaluated. Patients were stratified into three groups based on wait time: short- (<61 days, n = 185), intermediate- (61–90 days, n = 218), and long-wait (91–180 days, n = 153) groups. Clinicopathological findings and survival were compared among the groups. Results: The median wait time was 72 days. Age and comorbidities differed among the groups, but clinical and pathological cancer stages did not. Overall survival was comparable; the 5-year overall survival was 90.2%, 93.6%, and 88.8% in the short-, intermediate-, and long-wait groups, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that wait time was not an independent prognostic factor for overall survival. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were 0.69 (p = 0.262) and 1.03 (p = 0.926) in the intermediate- and long-wait groups, respectively, with short wait time as the reference. Relapse-free survival was comparable among the groups (intermediate-wait HR = 0.80, p = 0.476; long-wait HR = 1.10, p = 0.740). Conclusion: A half-year wait time for surgery was not independently associated with survival of patients with clinical stage I gastric cancer and may therefore be acceptable.
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