Send to

Choose Destination
Gastric Cancer. 2012 Sep;15 Suppl 1:S70-88. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

How many lymph nodes should be assessed in patients with gastric cancer? A systematic review.

Author information

Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada.



Nodal status is one of the most important prognostic factors in gastric adenocarcinoma (GC). As such, it is important to assess an appropriate number of lymph nodes (LNs) in order to accurately stage patients. However, the number of LNs assessed in each GC case varies, and in many cases the number examined per gastric specimen is less than current recommendations.


We aimed to identify and synthesize findings from all articles evaluating the association of clinicopathological features and long-term outcomes with the number of LNs assessed among GC patients.


Systematic electronic literature searches were conducted using Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1998 to 2009.


Twenty-five articles were included in this review. Extensive resection, increased tumor size, and greater TNM staging were all associated with a greater number of LNs assessed. The disease-free survival was longer and recurrence rate was lower in patients with more LNs assessed. Overall survival, as well as survival by TNM and clinical stage, was improved among patients with an increased number of LNs assessed, but much of this appears to be due to stage migration, with the effect more pronounced in more advanced disease.


More LNs assessed resulted in less stage migration and possibly better long-term outcomes. Although current guidelines suggest 16 LNs to be assessed, especially in advanced GC, a higher number of LNs should be assessed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center