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J Gastric Cancer. 2012 Mar;12(1):7-12. doi: 10.5230/jgc.2012.12.1.7. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

What is the problem in clinical application of sentinel node concept to gastric cancer surgery?

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Department of Surgery, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Osaka, Japan.


More than ten years have passed since the sentinel node (SN) concept for gastric cancer surgery was first discussed. Less invasive modified surgical approaches based on the SN concept have already been put into practice for malignant melanoma and breast cancer, however the SN concept is not yet placed in a standard position in gastric cancer surgery even after two multi-institutional prospective clinical trials, the Japan Clinical Oncology Group trial (JCOG0302) and the Japanese Society for Sentinel Node Navigation Surgery (SNNS) trial. What is the problem in the clinical application of the SN concept to gastric cancer surgery? There is no doubt that we need reliable indicator(s) to determine with certainty the absence of metastasis in the lymph nodes in order to avoid unnecessary lymphadenectomy. There are several matters of debate in performing the actual procedure, such as the type of tracer, the site of injection, how to detect and harvest, how to detect metastases of SNs, and learning period. These issues have to be addressed further to establish the most suitable procedure. Novel technologies such as indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence imaging and one-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA) may overcome the current difficulties. Once we know what the problems are and how to tackle them, we can pursue the goal.


Clinical trial; Gastric cancer; Indocyanine green fluorescence imaging; One-step nucleic acid amplification; Sentinel node

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