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Gastric Cancer. 2013 Oct;16(4):531-6. doi: 10.1007/s10120-012-0220-z. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Risk of lymph node metastases from intramucosal gastric cancer in relation to histological types: how to manage the mixed histological type for endoscopic submucosal dissection.

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Endoscopy Division, Shizuoka Cancer Center, 1007 Shimonagakubo Nagaizumi-cho, Sunto-gun, Shizuoka, 411-8777, Japan,



The behavior of early gastric cancer (EGC) with mixed-type histology (differentiated and undifferentiated) is incompletely understood. This study aimed to clarify the clinicopathological features of EGC with mixed-type histology in relation to lymph node (LN) metastasis.


Clinicopathological data from 410 patients who underwent surgical resection for intramucosal EGC were reviewed. Lesions were classified into four types according to the proportion of differentiated and undifferentiated components at histopathology: pure differentiated (PD) type, mixed predominantly differentiated (MD) type, mixed predominantly undifferentiated (MU) type, and pure undifferentiated (PU) type. We examined the clinicopathological differences between PD and MD, and between PU and MU, and the rate of LN metastasis according to tumor size and ulceration.


Moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma was the primary component in MD relative to PD (90.7 vs. 46.1 %). Signet ring cell carcinoma was the main component in PU relative to MU (81.5 vs. 33.3 %). LN metastasis was more common in MU than PU (19.0 vs. 6.0 %). For intramucosal tumors larger than 20 mm without lymphovascular invasion and without ulceration, the rate of LN metastasis was 0 % for MD and 24 % for MU. For intramucosal lesions less than 30 mm with ulceration but without lymphovascular invasion, the rate of LN metastasis was 0 % for MD and 20 % for MU.


Histologically mixed-type EGC with a predominantly undifferentiated component should be managed as an undifferentiated-type tumor. Further investigation is required to determine whether mixed-type EGC with a predominantly differentiated component could be managed the same way as a differentiated-type EGC.

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