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The Prognostic Value of Harvested Lymph Nodes and the Metastatic Lymph Node Ratio for Gastric Cancer Patients: Results of a Study of 1,101 Patients
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Author: Shi Chen et al.

by Shi Chen, Bai-Wei Zhao, Yuan-Fang Li, Xing-Yu Feng, Xiao-Wei Sun, Wei Li, Zhi-Wei Zhou, You-Qing Zhan, Chao-Nan Qian, Ying-Bo Chen


To investigate whether the recommendation to remove 15 lymph nodes that is used in the staging system is necessary to assess gastric cancer progression and to evaluate whether our metastatic lymph node ratio dividing method, adapted from the AJCC’s (American Joint Committee on Cancer) 7th TNM staging system, is helpful for the patients with fewer than 15 harvested lymph nodes.


We performed a retrospective study of 1101 patients with histologically diagnosed gastric cancer who underwent a D2 gastrectomy at the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center between January 2001 and December 2010. The Kappa and Chi-squared tests were employed to compare the clinicopathological variables. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression were employed for the univariate and multivariate survival analyses.


In the trial, 346, 601 and 154 patients had 0–14, 15–30 and more than 30 lymph nodes harvested, respectively. The median survival times of patients with different lymph nodes harvested in N0, N1, N2 and N3a groups were 45.43, 54.28 and 66.95 months (p?=?0.068); 49.22, 44.25 and 56.72 months (p<0.001), 43.94, 47.97 and 35.19 months (p?=?0.042); 32.88, 42.76 and 23.50 months (p?=?0.016). Dividing the patients who had fewer than 15 lymph nodes harvested by the metastatic lymph node ratio at 0, 0.13 and 0.40, the median survival times of these 4 groups were 70.6, 50.5, 53.5 and 30.7 months (p<0.001). After re-categorising these 4 groups into the N0, N1, N2, N3a groups, the histological grade, T staging, premier N staging, and restaged N staging were the independent prognostic factors.


Large numbers of lymph nodes harvested in radical gastrectomy do not cause stage migration. For those patients with a small number of harvested lymph nodes, their stage should be divided by the metastatic lymph node ratio, referred to in the TNM staging system, to assign them an accurate stage.