What is the anatomy of the stomach relative to gastric cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Elwyn C Cabebe, MD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Management of stomach cancer requires a thorough understanding of gastric anatomy. An image depicting stomach anatomy can be seen below.

Stomach and duodenum, coronal section. Stomach and duodenum, coronal section.

The stomach begins at the gastroesophageal junction and ends at the duodenum. The stomach has three parts: the uppermost part is the cardia; the middle and largest part is the body, or fundus; and the distal portion, the pylorus, connects to the duodenum. These anatomic zones have distinct histologic features. The cardia contains predominantly mucin-secreting cells. The fundus contains mucoid cells, chief cells, and parietal cells. The pylorus is composed of mucus-producing cells and endocrine cells.

The stomach wall is made up of five layers. From the lumen out, the layers are as follows:

  • Mucosa
  • Submucosa
  • Muscularis
  • Subserosa
  • Serosa

Externally, the peritoneum of the greater sac covers the anterior surface of the stomach. A portion of the lesser sac drapes posteriorly over the stomach. The gastroesophageal junction has limited or no serosal covering.

The right portion of the anterior gastric surface is adjacent to the left lobe of the liver and the anterior abdominal wall. The left portion of the stomach is adjacent to the spleen, the left adrenal gland, the superior portion of the left kidney, the ventral portion of the pancreas, and the transverse colon.

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