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Surgery. 2006 Apr;139(4):501-7.

Individualized surgery for early gastric cancer guided by sentinel node biopsy.

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Department of Surgery I, National Defense Medical College Hospital, Tokorozawa, Japan.



We have reported that lymphatic mapping using indocyanine green (ICG) solution can be a good tool for identifying sentinel nodes (SNs) in gastric cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate individualized operations for gastric cancer guided by SN biopsy and to explore the possibility for more limited operative procedures using SN technology.


SNs were identified by using (99m)Tc-labeled tin colloid and ICG solution in patients with clinically T1N0M0 gastric cancer. When pathologic examination by frozen section revealed metastasis in SNs, we performed a standard D2 gastrectomy. Less extensive lymphadenectomy preserving vagus and pylorus was applied when the SN biopsy was negative. Then, postoperative pathology was analyzed.


Among the 80 enrolled patients, 7 patients with apparent node metastasis or T2-3 neoplasms and 10 patients with positive metastasis in SNs underwent D2 gastrectomy. Sixty-one patients with negative metastasis in SNs underwent a less extensive, function-preserving gastrectomy. The false-negative rate in sentinel node biopsy was 23% (3/13) for frozen section and 7% (1/14) for postoperative pathology. In 3 patients with a false-negative result, metastasis was found in lymph nodes located at the station where the tracers were distributed. Of the 7 patients in whom metastasis was detected in 2 or more SNs by frozen section, postoperative pathology revealed that 3 patients (43%) belonged to the N2 category.


SN biopsy is a useful tool for individualizing the operative procedure for early gastric cancer. Dissecting the lymph node stations only where the tracers are distributed may be a promising procedure for patients with no metastatic SNs.

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