Purpose of review: To examine recent advances in the techniques and technologies of endoscopic resection of early gastric cancer.
Recent findings: Endoscopic mucosal resection of early gastric cancer with no risk of lymph node metastasis has been a standard technique in Japan and is increasingly becoming accepted and regularly used in Western countries. Though this minimally invasive technique is a safe, convenient and efficacious method, it is insufficient for larger lesions. Difficulties in correctly assessing the depth of tumour invasion and increases in local recurrence by standard endoscopic mucosal resection have been reported in lesions larger than 15 mm. This is because such lesions are often resected piecemeal due to the technical limitation of standard endoscopic mucosal resection. New developments in endoscopic resection techniques to dissect the submucosa directly, called endoscopic submucosal dissection, allows resections of larger lesions en bloc. There are no limitations in resection size in endoscopic submucosal dissection, which is expected to replace surgery. This technique, however, still has higher complications rates than standard endoscopic mucosal resection and requires highly skilled endoscopists.
Summary: The techniques, indications, and pathological assessment methods of endoscopic resection of early gastric cancer are described so that proper treatment guidelines can be established and long-term outcome data can be assessed.