Background and objectives: This study was aimed at evaluating the prognostic significance of the number of metastatic nodes in early gastric cancer (EGC).
Methods: In this multicenter retrospective study 652 cases of resected EGC were analyzed. We searched for lymph node metastases-associated risk factors and to identify subsets of patients with different prognosis according to the number of involved nodes.
Results: Nodal involvement was observed in 14.1%. A significant correlation was found between the presence of node metastases and tumor size (RR 1.34, P = 0.001), submucosal invasion (RR: 3.14, P = 0.007), Lauren diffuse/mixed type (RR: 4.88, P < 0.001) and Kodama Pen A type (RR: 4.59, P < 0.001). The 10-year survival rate was 92% for N0 cases, 82% and 73% for tumors with one to three and four to six positive nodes while it dropped to 27% with more than six metastatic nodes. Interestingly enough, the 10-year risk of recurrence diminished with the increasing number of retrieved nodes (>15) even in N0 patients.
Conclusions: Nodal involvement confirmed to be a significant prognostic factor. In view of the trend to a lower risk of recurrence when more than 15 nodes were retrieved and the better staging achieved we consider D2 lymphadenectomy the treatment of choice.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.