Sentinel node navigation in gastric cancer: new horizons for personalized minimally invasive surgical oncology?
Complete (R0) resection and regional lymph nodes (LNs) dissection represent undoubtedly the basic surgical tools for patients with gastric cancer. It is reported that the LN metastasis rate in patients with early gastric cancer (EGC) is approximately 15–20%. Therefore, the innovative clinical application of sentinel node navigation surgery (SNNS) for EGC might be able to prevent unnecessary LN dissection as well as to reduce significantly the volume of gastric resection. Recent evidence suggests that double tracer methods appear superior compared to single tracer techniques. However, the researchers’ interest is now focused on the identification of new LN detection methods utilizing sophisticated technology such as infrared ray endoscopy, fluorescence imaging and near-infrared technology. Despite its notable limitations, hematoxylin-eosin is still considered the mainstay staining for assessing the metastatic status of LNs. In this review, we summarize the current evidences and we provide the latest scientific information assessing safety, efficacy and potential limitations of the innovative sentinel node (SN) navigation technique for gastric cancer. We try also to provide a “view” towards a future potential application of personalized minimally invasive surgery in gastric cancer field.