Weighing the benefits of lymphadenectomy in early-stage colorectal cancer

Seung Min Baik, Ryung Ah Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advancements in endoscopic procedures have resulted in a growing diagnosis of early colorectal cancer (CRC) cases, where classical en bloc lymph node (LN) dissection is not performed and treatment is terminated with the removal of the main cancer lesion by endoscopy without pathologic LN staging. Although many studies report noninferior outcomes of endoscopic resection in comparison to surgical resection, a cautious approach to completing treatment with endoscopic resection alone is recommended because LN metastases may be present even in early-stage CRC. In most countries, including the United States, Europe, and South Korea, the guidelines for additional surgery after endoscopic resection are very similar. If LN metastasis is suspected, even in T1 stage or lower lesions, further surgery is an essential treatment modality, but confirmation of the presence of LN metastasis is perhaps the most difficult part of this process. Another paradoxical recent trend is the expansion of more extensive and complete surgical lymphadenectomy for CRC. The success rate of surgery has improved dramatically over the past decade with the introduction of surgical devices and minimally invasive surgery, and the associated risks have been significantly reduced. While the burden of surgery on patients is understandable, the indications for surgery in early colon cancer need to be carefully reviewed to improve cure rates. In this process, we believe that an integrated decision-making process with surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists, in addition to the opinions of endoscopists, will be an important process to improve the cure rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgical Treatment and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023, the Korean Surgical Society.


  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Early stage
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection
  • Lymph node excision


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