BACKGROUND: A submucosal tumor (SMT) of the stomach, which is an occasional finding during routine upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, may pose diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. METHODS: To assess whether endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is a feasible approach to definitively cure SMTs, the authors performed a retrospective cohort study with two endoscopic italian centers. RESULTS: The study consisted of 20 patients with SMTs who underwent ESD. The patients underwent ESD and were followed up by endoscopy. We analyzed complete resection rate, frequency of complications, and survival. The overall rate of R0 resection was 90 % (18/20), with two endoscopic failures, one for a submucosal tumor and one for a neoplasm deeply infiltrating the proper muscle layer. The median procedure time was 119.1 min (range 40-240 min). The median size of the resected specimens was 29 mm (range 15-60 mm). Perforation occurred in 3 patients; all were treated conservatively. There were no cases of severe bleeding. Based on histopathological findings, 6 cases of ectopic pancreas, 1 of ectopic spleen, 3 of leiomyoma, and 10 of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) were diagnosed. Complete resection was obtained in all GIST cases. Among the 10 GIST cases treated by ESD, no death occurred: the 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 100 %. CONCLUSIONS: The high success rate of 90 % and the low incidence of complications should indicate ESD is the correct diagnostic and definitive treatment in selected patients.
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