Current status of lymph node micrometastasis in gastric cancer

Yang Zhou, Guo-Jing Zhang, Ji Wang, Kai-Yuan Zheng and Weihua Fu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:51963-51969. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17495

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Yang Zhou1, Guo-Jing Zhang1, Ji Wang1, Kai-Yuan Zheng1 and Weihua Fu1

1 Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin, China

Correspondence to:

Weihua Fu, email:

Keywords: gastric cancer; lymph nodes metastasis; micrometastasis; molecular technique; minimally invasive surgery

Received: December 08, 2016 Accepted: April 03, 2017 Published: April 27, 2017


Lymph node metastasis is one of the most important prognostic factors in patients with gastric cancer. An inadequate number of dissected lymph nodes is an independent risk factor affecting recurrence, even in patients who are node negative. Oddly, certain early-stage patients still experience recurrence or metastasis within a short time, even if they have undergone standard radical mastectomy. Many researchers have attributed these adverse events to lymph node micrometastasis (LNM), which is defined as a microscopic deposit of malignant cells of less than 2 mm in diameter. With the development of diagnostic tools such as immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, the rate of detection of LNM has been constantly increasing. Although there is no clear consensus about risk factors for or the definitive clinical significance of LNM, the clinical impact of LNM is remarkable in gastric cancer. For minimally invasive treatment in particular, such as endoscopic submucosal dissection and laparoscopic surgery, accurate diagnosis of LNM is regarded as the potential key to maintaining the balance between curability and safety. This review provides an overview of the definition, detection and significance of LNM in gastric cancer. We also summarize several attention-drawing controversies regarding the treatment of patients who may have LNM.

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