Background: The AJCC recommends examination of >16 nodes to stage gastric adenocarcinoma. D2 lymphadenectomy (LAD) followed by surgical ex vivo dissection (SEVD) into nodal stations is standard at many high-volume Asian centers, but potential increases in morbidity and mortality have slowed adoption of D2 LAD in some Western centers.
Methods: A total of 331 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma who underwent surgical resection at one Western institution from 1995 to 2010 were examined.
Results: Median age of patients was 69 years old, 65% were male, and 84% were white. D1 LAD was performed in 285 patients (86%) and D2 LAD in 46 patients (14%), with SEVD being performed in 17 patients (37%) in the D2 group. D2 LAD with or without SEVD was performed much more commonly between 2006 and 2010. For the D1, D2 without SEVD, and D2 with SEVD groups, the median number of examined nodes and percentage with >16 examined nodes were 16 and 51%, 27 and 93%, and 40 and 100%, respectively. Major complications occurred in 16% of the D1 group and 17% of the D2 group (p>0.05), and 30-day mortality was 3% for the D1 group and 0% for the D2 group. D2 LAD was a positive prognostic factor for overall survival on univariate (p=0.027) and multivariate analyses (p=0.005), but there were several possible confounding variables.
Conclusions: D2 LAD at our Western institution was performed with low morbidity and no mortality. Optimal staging occurred after D2 LAD combined with SEVD, where a median of 40 nodes were examined and all patients had >16 examined nodes.