The macroscopic diagnosis of lymph node metastasis from early gastric cancer
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As the proportion of early gastric cancers (EGC) has been steadily increasing, modifications of the “radical lymphadenectomy” approach to stomach cancer have been attracting considerable attention; however, accurate pre- and intraoperative evaluations of tumor extent are essential for the successful application of this method. We examined the reliability of macroscopically diagnosing node involvement by reviewing the operative and pathological records of 522 patients with EGC. Of 59 patients histologically diagnosed as node-positive (n+), only 19 (32%) had been macroscopically diagnosed as node-positive (N+). In contrast, of 61 N+ patients, 42 (69 %) were in fact n-. Metastases from histologically diffuse type carcinomas were less accurately diagnosed than those from intestinal type tumors. In 44% of the false-positive (N+/n-) patients, the tumor had been preoperatively diagnosed as advanced, which seemed to have lead to intraoperative overdiagnosis. These results suggest that lymph node metastases from EGC cannot be reliably diagnosed during surgery. The indications for a modified radical operation should thus be decided according to preoperative tumor evaluation based on the depth of invasion.
Key Wordsearly gastric cancer lymph node metastasis diagnostic accuracy
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