Aim: To study the correlation between lymph node metastatic disease and various pathological parameters. Lymph node metastasis is the most important factor in determining the prognosis of patients with early gastric cancer and is significantly associated with the submucosal invasion of neoplastic cells. However, the depth of submucosal layer as well as the depth of submucosal tumour invasion varies among different cases.
Methods and results: We studied various pathological parameters including the macroscopic appearance, location, size, area, differentiation, invasion depth, vascularity and fibrosis of submucosal gastric carcinomas (SMGC), using 248 age- and sex-matched tissue samples. The presence of lymphatic emboli, a larger area, greater size, a non-flat gross type and an increased vascularity of the tumour were significantly associated with node-positive SMGC. Among the three depth-related parameters, the ocular scale measurement, the sm3 method and the sm2 method, only the ocular scale measurement showed a significant correlation with node-positive SMGC. Using multivariate analysis, the incidence of lymph node metastasis increased in the lymphatic tumour emboli and in the tumours that invaded more than half of the submucosal layer.
Conclusions: These histological indicators seem to be a feasible and easy way to predict lymph node metastatic disease from limited surgery specimens. Pathologists should carefully investigate the lymphatic invasion of tumour cells and measure the invasion depth of the tumour.