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Early gastric cancers (EGCs) are defined as gastric cancers confined to the mucosa or submucosa, regardless of regional lymph node metastasis. The proportion of EGCs has been increasing due to the increase in screening endoscopy for gastric cancers; therefore, the paradigm shift from surgical resection to endoscopic resection as a treatment modality for selected EGCs is accelerating. For successful endoscopic resection of EGCs, it is important to detect EGCs at an early stage and to accurately predict the histological type, depth of invasion, and horizontal margins of the tumor. The diagnostic process of EGCs can be divided into three steps: presence diagnosis, qualitative diagnosis, and quantitative diagnosis. The presence diagnosis of EGCs is mainly based on two endoscopic findings: a well-demarcated lesion and irregularity in the color/surface pattern. Qualitative diagnosis refers to the prediction of histological type, which is mainly possible based on the macroscopic shape and color of the lesion. Quantitative diagnosis of EGCs consists of predicting the depth of invasion by detailed examination of the macroscopic morphology and determining horizontal margins using chromoendoscopy. Although advanced diagnostic modalities, such as endosonography or magnifying endoscopy, are helpful for the qualitative and quantitative diagnosis of EGCs, these modalities are not available in most hospitals. Therefore, it is still very important to evaluate EGCs systematically during conventional endoscopy for successful endoscopic treatment.


Gwang Ha Kim. Systematic Endoscopic Approach to Early Gastric Cancer in Clinical Practice. Gut and liver. 2021 Apr 06

PMID: 33790057

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