Localized resection of early stage colon cancer is increasingly technically feasible by truly minimally invasive means. Such techniques as endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) and Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (N.O.T.E.S.) now raise the prospect of focused intraluminal and transmural resection of small primary tumors without abdominal wall transgression. The potential clinical benefit that patients may accrue from targeted dissection as definitive treatment in place of radical operation is not yet definitively proven but may be considerable at least in the short-term. However, oncological propriety and outcomes must be maintained. In particular methods by which regional nodal staging can be assured if standard operation is avoided need still to be established. Sentinel node mapping is one such putative means of doing so that deserves serious consideration from this perspective as it performs a similar function for breast cancer and melanoma and because there is already considerable evidence to suggest the technique in colonic neoplasia may be at its most accurate in germinal disease. In addition, it may already be employed by laparoscopy while solely transluminal means of its deployment are advancing. While the confluence of operative technologies and techniques now coming on-stream has the potential to precipitate a dramatic shift in the paradigm for the management of early stage colonic neoplasia, considerable confirmatory study is required to ensure that oncology propriety and treatment efficacy is maintained so that patient benefit may be maximized.