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Gastric Cancer. 2009;12(3):148-52. doi: 10.1007/s10120-009-0515-x. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Incidence of lymph node metastasis and the feasibility of endoscopic resection for undifferentiated-type early gastric cancer.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Cancer Institute Hospital, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, 3-10-6 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 135-8550, Japan.



Endoscopic resection (ER) has been accepted as minimally invasive treatment in patients with early gastric cancer (EGC) who have a negligible risk of lymph node metastasis. It has already been determined which lesions in differentiated-type EGC present a negligible risk of lymph node metastasis, and ER is being performed for these lesions. In contrast, no consensus has been reached on which lesions in undifferentiated-type (UD-type) EGC present a negligible risk for lymph node metastasis, nor have indications for ER for UD-type EGC been established.


We investigated 3843 patients who had undergone gastrectomy with lymph node dissection for solitary UD-type EGC at the Cancer Institute Hospital, Tokyo, and the National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo. Seven clinicopathological factors were assessed for their possible association with lymph node metastasis.


Of the 3843 patients, 2163 (56.3%) had intramucosal cancers and 1680 (43.7%) had submucosal invasive cancers. Only 105 (4.9%) intramucosal cancers compared with 399 (23.8%) submucosal invasive cancers were associated with lymph node metastases. By multivariate analysis, tumor size 21 mm or more, lymphatic-vascular capillary involvement, and submucosal penetration were independent risk factors for lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001, respectively). None of the 310 intramucosal cancers 20 mm or less in size without lymphatic- vascular capillary involvement and ulcerative findings was associated with lymph node metastases (95% confidence interval, 0-0.96%).


UD-type intramucosal EGC 20 mm or less in size without lymphatic-vascular capillary involvement and ulcerative findings presents a negligible risk of lymph node metastasis. We propose that in this circumstance ER could be considered.

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