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Linitis plastica of the stomach

Gastric linitis plastica is the medical term for a rare type of stomach (gastric) cancer. Treatment for gastric linitis plastica is similar to that for other types of stomach cancers.

What linitis plastica is

This rare cancer is a type of stomach adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcioma is the most common form of stomach cancer. Because linitus plastica is rare there is very little information about it. 

Linitis plastica spreads to the muscles of the stomach wall and makes it thicker and more rigid. This means that the stomach can’t hold as much and doesn’t stretch or move as it should when food is digested. This stiff walled stomach is sometimes called a leather bottle stomach.

Treatment for linitis plastica in the stomach

As with many other types of stomach cancers, your doctor may suggest that they remove your stomach. This is called a total gastrectomy.

But this is not always successful as this type of cancer is very fast growing. A large cancer or one that has spread beyond the stomach wall might be difficult to remove during surgery. 

If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body such as the lymph nodes or the lining of the abdominal organs and it’s cavity (peritoneum), you may have surgery to help relieve symptoms, for example those caused by a blockage.

When surgery isn’t an option, then chemotherapy might be possible. The aim of chemotherapy treatment is to slow down the growth of the cancer and to relieve symptoms. It is important to weigh up the benefits of having chemotherapy with the possible side effects. As well as taking into account how well you are generally. 

Last reviewed: 
24 Feb 2014
  • Cancer and principles and practices of oncology (10th edition), VT Devita, S Hellman and SA Rosenberg. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015.

  • Guidelines for the management of oesophageal and gastric cancer
    WH Allum and others
    Gut. 2011 Nov;60(11):1449–72.

  • Textbook of uncommon cancer (4th Edition). D Raghavan and others. Wiley Blackwell. 2012.

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