N staging: the role of the pathologist
Gastric cancer is the second cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Metastases, including lymph nodes ones, heavily influence the prognosis of this disease. The pathological detection of positive lymph nodes is pivotal for an optimal prognostication and clinical management of affected individuals. Several factors influence the pathological investigation of surgical specimens, ultimately affecting the number of retrieved lymph nodes and, with it, the reliability of N staging. The pathologist plays a central role in optimizing this process. Factors influencing lymph node retrieval and analysis will be herein reviewed, together with the procedures adopted for an optimal pathological analysis of lymph nodes in gastric cancer.