Gastric Cancer

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 134–148 | Cite as

Predicting lymph node status in early gastric cancer

  • Robert Michael Kwee
  • Thomas Christian Kwee
Review Article


Accurate prediction of lymph node (LN) status is of crucial importance for appropriate treatment planning in patients with early gastric cancer (EGC). However, there is no definitive consensus yet on which patient and/or tumor characteristics are associated with LN metastasis. A systematic search for studies investigating the relationship between patient and/or tumor characteristics and LN metastasis in EGC was performed in PubMed/MEDLINE. Patient and/or tumor characteristics associated with LN metastasis were identified by meta-analyzing results of individual studies. Forty-five studies were included. Variables significantly associated with LN metastasis in gastric cancer limited to the mucosa were: age younger than 57 years, tumor location in the middle part of the stomach, larger tumor size, macroscopically depressed tumor type, tumor ulcerations, undifferentiated tumors, diffuse tumor type according to the Lauren classification, lymphatic tumor invasion, tumors with a proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) labeling index of more than 25%, and matrix metalloproteinase-9-positive tumors. Variables significantly associated with LN metastasis in gastric cancer limited to the submucosa were: female sex, tumor location in the lower part of the stomach, larger tumor size, undifferentiated tumors, increasing depth of submucosal invasion, lymphatic tumor invasion, vascular tumor invasion, increased submucosal vascularity, tumors with a PCNA labeling index of more than 25%, tumors with a gastric mucin phenotype, and vascular endothelial growth factor-C-positive tumors. We identified several variables associated with LN metastasis in EGC. These variables should be included in future research, in order to assess which of these variables remain as significant predictors of LN metastasis.

Key words

Early gastric cancer Lymph node metastasis Prediction Systematic review Meta-analysis 


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Copyright information

© The International Gastric Cancer Association and The Japanese Gastric Cancer Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Michael Kwee
    • 1
  • Thomas Christian Kwee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity Medical Center MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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