Published online Sep 21, 2019. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i35.5344
Peer-review started: July 15, 2019
First decision: August 18, 2019
Revised: August 28, 2019
Accepted: September 9, 2019
Article in press: September 9, 2019
Published online: September 21, 2019
Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) has been routinely performed in applicable early gastric cancer (EGC) patients as an alternative to conventional surgical operations that involve lymph node dissection. The indications for ESD have been recently expanded to include larger, ulcerated, and undifferentiated mucosal lesions, and differentiated lesions with slight submucosal invasion. The risk of lymph node metastasis (LNM) is the most important consideration when deciding on a treatment strategy for EGC. Despite the advantages over surgical procedures, lymph nodes cannot be removed by ESD. In addition, whether patients who meet the expanded indications for ESD can be managed safely remains controversial.
To determine whether the ESD indications are applicable to Chinese patients and to investigate the predictors of LNM in EGC.
We retrospectively analyzed 12552 patients who underwent surgery for gastric cancer between June 2007 and December 2018 at the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University. A total of 1262 (10.1%) EGC patients were eligible for inclusion in this study. Data on the patients’ clinical, endoscopic, and histopathological characteristics were collected. The absolute and expanded indications for ESD were validated by regrouping the enrolled patients and determining the positive LNM results in each subgroup. Predictors of LNM in patients were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses.
LNM was observed in 182 (14.4%) patients. No LNM was detected in the patients who met the absolute indications (0/90). LNM occurred in 4/311 (1.3%) patients who met the expanded indications. According to univariate analysis, LNM was significantly associated with positive tumor marker status, medium (20-30 mm) and large (>30 mm) lesion sizes, excavated macroscopic-type tumors, ulcer presence, submucosal invasion (SM1 and SM2), poor differentiation, lymphovascular invasion (LVI), perineural invasion, and diffuse and mixed Lauren’s types. Multivariate analysis demonstrated SM1 invasion (odds ration [OR] = 2.285, P = 0.03), SM2 invasion (OR = 3.230, P < 0.001), LVI (OR = 15.702, P < 0.001), mucinous adenocarcinoma (OR = 2.823, P = 0.015), and large lesion size (OR = 1.900, P = 0.006) to be independent risk factors.
The absolute indications for ESD are reasonable, and the feasibility of expanding the indications for ESD requires further investigation. The predictors of LNM include invasion depth, LVI, mucinous adenocarcinoma, and lesion size.
Core tip: We aimed to re-evaluate and verify the current indications and guidelines for endoscopic treatment and to analyze the clinicopathological predictors of lymph node metastasis in early gastric cancer (EGC), which have been inconsistently identified across studies. To the best of our knowledge, this study involves the largest number of EGC patients in China, and is the first study to perform statistical analyses on certain clinical features, such as drinking, smoking, obesity, family history of tumors, and tumor markers.