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Innere Medizin 1. Mai 2006

Does endoscopic ultrasound staging already allow individual treatment regimens in gastric cancer

AIM: The aim of our study was to evaluate the accuracy of preoperative TNM staging with endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) in gastric cancer patients in comparison with the pathohistological stage of the resected specimen, and to determine the possible implications of EUS for individualized treatment of gastric cancer patients at our institution. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study included 82 patients operated for resectable gastric cancer between January 1st 2001 and July 1st 2003 at the Maribor Teaching Hospital Department of Abdominal and General Surgery. The EUS stage was assessed preoperatively at the Endoscopical Unit, and the pathohistological stage in the resected specimen was determined postoperatively at the Department of Pathologic Morphology according to recommended standards. RESULTS: Comparison of EUS and pathohistological assessments revealed accuracy of EUS staging for locoregional tumor infiltration (category T) in 68% of patients. The accuracy of EUS staging was 68% for T1, 69% for T2, 69% for T3 and 60% for T4. Lymph nodes (category N) were correctly staged with EUS in 57% of cases. The EUS stage was correct for lymph nodes with no metastases (N−) in 40% of cases, and for lymph nodes with metastases (N+) in 90%. There was no significant difference in accuracy of EUS staging with regard to tumor site (P = 0.768) or tumor size (P = 0.766). CONCLUSIONS: According to our results the accuracy of EUS staging matched pathohistological staging with regard to tumor infiltration and lymph node stage in 68% and 57% of cases respectively. Underestimation of the final T2 and T3 stages as T1 stage by EUS presents a problem regarding the consistency of EUS examination at our institution, particularly with respect to individual treatment for early gastric cancer. The present uncertainty in EUS stage reliability makes it necessary to have a strategy of radical resection with D2 lymphadenectomy in patients within EUS stages T1–T3, with additional CT examinations in more advanced EUS stages in order to visualize the circumstances of tumor growth. Nevertheless, EUS provides an opportunity for the surgeon to gain more insight into the loco-regional circumstances of the gastric tumor process. For development of individual modes of treatment based on EUS staging, a more reliable assessment of EUS stage is mandatory.

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