Lymph node metastasis can be determined by just tumor depth and lymphovascular invasion in early gastric cancer patients after endoscopic submucosal dissection

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Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is a minimally invasive treatment for early gastric cancer (EGC) with negligible risk of lymph node metastasis (LNM). When a patient is determined to have noncurative resection after ESD, additional surgical resection with lymph node dissection is recommended. Previous studies report that LNM is found in about 10% of these patients. It may be possible to avoid unnecessary surgical resection by selecting patients properly. We aimed to clarify the risk factors associated with LNM in EGC patients who underwent ESD and to develop a highly accurate diagnostic algorithm for LNM.

Patients and methods

Among 1005 patients with EGC who underwent ESD, 423 patients who could be followed up for more than 3 years after treatment or who underwent additional surgical resection were examined. We used the leave-one-out method to explore the combination of predictive factors of LNM and differentiated LNM by a unique classifier.


Curative resection was achieved in 322 patients, whereas noncurative resection was achieved in 101 patients. In the noncurative resection group, LNM occurred in eight patients with additional surgical resection and one patient during follow-up. The combination of depth of invasion, lymphatic, and venous invasion showed the highest diagnostic performance and could differentiate LNM with 100% sensitivity, 86% specificity, and 86% diagnostic accuracy.


More than 500 μm submucosal invasion and lymphatic and venous invasion will be useful in assessing LNM after ESD for patients with EGC. When these three factors are not observed, follow-up alone might be appropriate and it may be possible to reduce unnecessary surgical resection.

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