Background: Newly developed therapies for early gastric carcinoma attempt to consider patients' quality of life, but the applicability and effectiveness of these treatments remain undetermined.
Methods: Clinicopathologic data of 612 consecutive patients with early gastric carcinoma, all of whom were treated by D1 and D2 gastrectomy, were analyzed. Patients with and without lymph node metastases were compared in relation to age and gender distributions, surgical procedures, histopathology of the tumors, 5-year prognosis, and in reference to the preoperative and intraoperative assessments.
Results: The overall incidence of lymph node metastases was 5.7%. Tumor depth and size were related to lymph node metastases judged by univariate and multivariate analyses. Patients with mucosal tumors showed no relation between metastatic rate and tumor size, whereas those with submucosal tumors showed an increasing metastatic rate with tumor size. In all cases but one, lymph node metastases were confined to lymph node stations defined as Group 1 locations. Preoperative endoscopic ultrasonography showed a 55% diagnostic accuracy in determining tumor depth and a 15% sensitivity in diagnosing lymph node metastases.
Conclusions: Patients with early gastric carcinoma may be candidates for endoscopic mucosal resection if their tumor is confined to the mucosa and measures < 1 cm in greatest dimension. Other limited resections including D1 gastrectomy or standard D2 gastrectomy based on tumor depth and size are appropriate. Based on the current study findings, the authors propose a useful algorithm for managing such patients.