Background. Lymph node metastasis is a risk factor for the occurrence of peritoneal dissemination and liver metastasis in patients with gastric cancer. Methods. We analyzed data on 324 patients with serosally invasive gastric cancer, with respect to the relation between lymphatic invasion and potential for tumor growth and metastasis. All these patients were curatively treated in the Department of Surgery II, Kyushu University. Results. Lymphatic invasion was evident in 214 patients, in whom vascular invasion was more frequent and the rate of lymph node metastasis was higher compared with patients with no lymphatic invasion. There was no difference in tumor size. The type of recurrence varied and the prognosis was poor in patients with lymphatic invasion. The DNA ploidy pattern was higher, and the levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen labeling and argyrophilic nucleolar organizer regions count were significantly higher in tumor tissues with lymphatic invasion than in those without invasion. Conclusions. Gastric cancers with characteristics of lymphatic invasion have higher proliferating activities, and metastases to distant organs are likely.
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