Purpose: Several recent studies have evaluated the feasibility of the sentinel node (SN) concept for gastric cancer. The aim of our study was to investigate limited gastrectomy with SN basin dissection in SN navigation surgery (SNNS) for patients with early-gastric cancer located in the upper-third of the stomach. Methods: 147 patients received SNNS for early-gastric cancer at our institution. Of these, 26 patients diagnosed with early-gastric cancer < 4 cm in size and located in the upper-third of the stomach were retrospectively analyzed for the distribution of SN and SN basins. Results: In three of the 26 patients, lymph node metastasis was limited to the left gastric artery (LGA) basin. The breakdown of the basins were as follows: A single LGA basin, 19 cases; a non-single LGA basin, seven cases. A non-single LGA basin was significantly associated with the clinicopathological factors, such as tumor spread to the middle-third of the stomach, tumor location at the center of the greater curvature, and undifferentiated adenocarcinoma, compared to the single LGA basin group. Conclusions: Our data revealed that the distribution of the SN basins in early-gastric cancer measuring less than 4 cm in size and located in the upper-third of the stomach was significantly correlated with tumor spread, tumor location, and the pathological findings.
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