Linitis plastica historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hadeel Maksoud M.D.[2]


Reports on linitis plastica date as far back as the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The term "linitis plastica" meaning leather bottle was first used by Dr. William Brinton, an English physician, in 1854 in reference to the appearance of the stomach's wall lining.

Historical Perspective

Dr. Brinton was the first to categorize this cancer as a separate entity to other pathologies. The stomach muscle lining was uncharacteristically thicker than usual. For many years, this type of cancer could not be classified as either benign or malignant. In 1953, Dr. Arthur Stout noted that there were scattered cells among the filamentous bands of scar tissue that were malignant. Dr. Stout then further proposed that this cancer was, in fact, a subset of gastric cancer.[1]


  • Linitis plastica was first discovered by Dr. William Brinton, an English physician, in 1854.[2]
  • In 1953, Dr. Arthur Stout was the first to categorize linitis plastica as malignant.

Famous Cases

Napoleon Bonaparte, a French military and political leader is thought to have died from this type of cancer.[3]


  1. Lyle HH (1911). "VIII. Linitis Plastica (Cirrhosis of Stomach): With a Report of a Case Cured by Gastro-Jejunostomy". Ann. Surg. 54 (5): 625–68. PMC 1406341. PMID 17862763.
  2. Armstrong GE (1914). "LINITIS PLASTICA". Can Med Assoc J. 4 (9): 770–5. PMC 406735. PMID 20310533.
  3. Bevan S, Houlston RS (1999). "Genetic predisposition to gastric cancer". QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians. 92 (1): 5–10. doi:10.1093/qjmed/92.1.5. PMID 10209666.

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