J Korean Surg Soc.  1997 Aug;53(2):209-218.

Significance of Lymph Node Metastasis in Early Gastric Cancer

  • 1Department of General Surgery, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


One hundred thirty four early gastric cancer cases were analyzed to determine the clinicopathologic features influencing lymph node metastasis. Subtotal gastrectomy for 122 patients and total gastrectomy for 12 patients were carried on including lymph node dissection of node groups 1 and 2. The mean duration of the follow-up was 44.2 months. In this review, the only pathologic feature influencing lymph node metastasis was depth of invasion. The rate of lymph node metastasis was significantly higher in submucosal cancer(30.3%) than mucosal cancer(8.6%)(Chi-Square test, P=0.0009). The lymph node metastasis was the only independent prognostic factor of early gastric cancer(P=0.0006), and raise the question whether the present definition of early gastric cancer is still of value. Most important result of our study is that 20.9% of the early gastric cancer had pathologically proven lymph node metastasis, and have worse prognosis than the cases without metastasis. In stead of the currently used early gastric cancer, we propose superficial cancer for carcinoma confined to mucosa or submucosa on endoscopic finding, and to save the term of early gastric cancer for the cases in which the invasion limited to the mucosa or submucosa without lymph node metastasis.


Early gastric cancer; LN metastasis; Definition
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