Published online May 14, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i18.5389
Revised: December 23, 2013
Accepted: January 20, 2014
Published online: May 14, 2014
With respect to gastric cancer treatment, improvements in endoscopic techniques and novel therapeutic modalities [such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD)] have been developed. Currently, EMR/ESD procedures are widely accepted treatment modalities for early gastric cancer (EGC). These procedures are most widely accepted in Asia, including in Korea and Japan. In the present era of endoscopic resection, accurate prediction of lymph node (LN) metastasis is a critical component of selecting suitable patients for EMR/ESD. Generally, indications for EMR/ESD are based on large Japanese datasets, which indicate that there is almost no risk of LN metastasis in the subgroup of EGC cases. However, there is some controversy among investigators regarding the validity of these criteria. Further, there are currently no accurate methods to predict LN metastasis in gastric cancer (for example, radiologic methods or methods based on molecular biomarkers). We recommend the use of a 2-step method for the management of early gastric cancer using endoscopic resection. The first step is the selection of suitable patients for endoscopic resection, based on endoscopic and histopathologic findings. After endoscopic resection, additional surgical intervention could be determined on the basis of a comprehensive review of the endoscopic mucosal resection/endoscopic submucosal dissection specimen, including lymphovascular tumor emboli, tumor size, histologic type, and depth of invasion. However, evaluation of clinical application data is essential for validating this recommendation. Moreover, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and pathologists should closely collaborate and communicate during these decision-making processes.
Core tip: In this review, we defined the clinicopathologic parameters for predicting lymph node metastatic early gastric cancer. Moreover, we recommended the use of a 2-step method for minimally invasive management of early gastric cancer. Collection and assessment of clinical application data will help validate this recommendation.