Clinical application of sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping in patients with early-stage gastric cancer has been a controversial issue for years. However, a recent meta-analysis and a prospective multicenter trial of SLN mapping for early-stage gastric cancer have shown acceptable SLN detection rates and accuracy of determination of lymph node status. A dual-tracer method that uses radioactive colloids and blue dyes is currently considered the most reliable method for the stable detection of SLNs in patients with early-stage gastric cancer. However, the new technologies such as indocyanine green infrared or fluorescence imaging might revolutionize the SLN mapping procedures in gastric cancer. For early-stage gastric cancer, the establishment of individualized, minimally invasive treatments based on SLN concept may retain the patients' quality of life.
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