Published online Mar 27, 2016. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v8.i3.179
Peer-review started: August 11, 2015
First decision: September 22, 2015
Revised: October 24, 2015
Accepted: December 29, 2015
Article in press: January 4, 2016
Published online: March 27, 2016
Core tip: The number of lymph nodes in surgical resection specimens is influenced by numerous factors. Good practice by surgeons and pathologists is essential to maximize lymph node yields, but there are non-modifiable factors related to patient and tumour. Extended lymphadenectomy, extra-mesenteric lymph node dissection, high arterial ligation and complete mesocolic excision, all increase lymph node yields, but a definite benefit in prognosis is not proven and the optimal extent of surgical resection remains contentious. Conversely, further development in sentinel lymph node biopsy techniques could allow selective lymphadenectomy, whilst providing appropriate information to guide adjuvant therapy.