Background: Endoscopic resection (ER) is indicated for patients with early gastric cancer who have a negligible risk of lymph node metastasis (LNM). Histological examination of the resected specimen may indicate a possible risk of LNM or a positive resection margin. These patients are considered to have undergone non-curative ER. The aim of this study was to determine the appropriate treatment strategy for such patients.
Methods: A total of 298 patients who had non-curative ER were classified into those with a positive lateral margin only (group 1; 72 patients) and those with a possible risk of LNM (group 2; 226 patients).
Results: Surgery was performed within 6 months of non-curative ER in 19 patients in group 1 and 144 in group 2. In group 1, nine patients were found to have local residual tumours, all limited to the mucosal layer without LNM. In Group 2, 13 patients had residual disease, including four local tumours without LNM, two local tumours with LNM and seven cases of LNM alone. The rate of LNM after surgery was 6.3 per cent in group 2.
Conclusion: Surgery remains the standard treatment after non-curative ER in patients with a possible risk of LNM.