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Gastric cancer staging with radiologic imaging modalities and UICC staging system

Hye Seong Ahn, Se Hyung Kim, Yasuhiro Kodera, Han-Kwang Yang
Digestive Surgery 2013, 30 (2): 142-9
There are two major stage classification systems for gastric cancer: the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stages by the International Union against Cancer (UICC) and the Japanese Classification of Gastric Carcinoma by the Japanese Gastric Cancer Association (JGCA). Preoperative stage classification using either of these systems is essential for deciding on the treatment strategy in the era of various multimodal therapeutic options. Evolution of multidetector computerized tomography with isotropic volumetric imaging and various 3D images has increased the accuracy of T and N staging in patients with gastric cancer, although detection of peritoneal deposits and nodal metastasis in the absence of lymphadenopathy remain problematic with the imaging tools currently available. The TNM and JGCA classifications have undergone revisions independent of each other, and the discrepancies were not helpful when international comparisons and cooperation were needed. More recently, the JGCA and TNM classifications were merged to have identical T and N categories, in addition to the more straightforward M categories that indicate the presence of distant metastasis. The result of these efforts is that researchers in Japan and the rest of the world are now looking at a similar disease when they discuss cancer that belongs to the same stage. A nomogram that incorporates other established prognostic determinants in addition to the TNM component may be a future direction for a more sophisticated means of predicting outcome. The increasing incidence of junctional (esophagogastric junction) cancer in the Far East has spurred researchers from this region to adequately stage the disease and to consider suitable treatment modalities for this disease entity, whereas Western researchers are more inclined to treat this disease as esophageal cancer. This could be an area for future international debate. For the next more accurate staging, we suggest the collaboration between Eastern and Western high-volume centers in gastric cancer because the inconsistency of surgical approaches, especially with respect to nodal resection, remains a barrier to mutual understanding.

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