Prognostic relevance of immunohistochemically detected lymph node micrometastasis in patients with gastric carcinoma

Eungseok Lee, Yangseok Chae, Insun Kim, Jongsang Choi, Bomwoo Yeom, Anthony S.Y. Leong

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    88 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND. Micrometastases consisting of one to a few cells in lymph nodes resected during gastrectomy are difficult to identify using conventional hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stains. It has been shown that immunostaining for cytokeratins is effective in detecting lymph node micrometastasis in a variety of human tumors, but only a few previous reports demonstrated its use in the treatment of patients with early and advanced gastric carcinoma, and those reports had conflicting results. METHODS. In this study, 3625 regional lymph nodes that were dissected in gastrectomy specimens from 153 patients with early-stage gastric carcinoma (46 patients) and advanced gastric carcinoma (107 patients) were immunostained with the anticytokeratin cocktail AE1/3 for micrometastasis (median, 23 lymph nodes; range, 8-66 lymph nodes). Micrometastasis (MM) was defined as a single tumor cell or clusters of tumor cells that were missed on conventional examination with H&E stains but were detected by immunostaining with broad-spectrum anticytokeratin antibodies. RESULTS. Lymph node metastasis (LNM) was detected in 609 lymph nodes (17%) by H&E staining. MM was identified in another 191 of the remaining lymph nodes (6.3%) from 75 patients. Twenty-eight of those patients were up-staged. There was a significant correlation between MM and depth of tumor invasion (P < 0.01). Patients with MM had a decreased 5-year survival rate (49%) compared with patients without MM (76%) for both early and advanced gastric carcinoma. The effect of MM on survival was most pronounced for patients in the Stage I and LNM negative group. CONCLUSIONS. Immunohistochemical examination using broad-spectrum anticytokeratin antibodies increased the detection rate of LNM and had a significant impact on staging and survival in patients with gastric carcinoma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2867-2873
    Number of pages7
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jun 1


    • Advanced gastric carcinoma
    • Cytokeratin
    • Early gastric carcinoma
    • Immunohistochemistry
    • Lymph node metastasis
    • Micrometastasis
    • Prognosis
    • Survival

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology
    • Cancer Research


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