Laparoscopic splenic hilar lymph node dissection for advanced gastric cancer: to be or not to be
The incidence of proximal gastric cancer has increased in both the East and the West. Although some novel reconstructions like double-tract or double-flap anti-reflux procedure related to proximal gastrectomy are promising, total radical gastrectomy still accounts for a significant portion of these procedures. D2 radical gastrectomy is the globally accepted standard surgical procedure for advanced gastric cancer, and lymph node (LN) dissection is considered as the critical point of radical surgery and closely related to the prognosis. The splenic hilar LNs (No. 10) are LNs that need to be removed during standard D2 surgery for proximal and total gastrectomy. Lymphadenectomy does not only provide valuable information on the prognosis of gastric cancer, but the thoroughness of the sweep itself is directly related to postoperative survival. The incidence of splenic hilar LN (No. 10) metastasis rate is not high. Although the LN metastasis pathway around the spleen is complicated, the feasibility of laparoscopic splenic hilar LN dissection in locally advanced gastric cancer has been verified. However, these results are mostly from small volume clinical studies, and the fact is that the dissection of the splenic hilar is technique-demanding even for open surgery. The rational strategy for LN dissection for surgeons is still controversial. For splenic LN dissection in radical gastric cancer surgery, whether to select individualized splenic LN dissection for those patients highly suspected of clinical metastasis or to advocate the evidence-based strategy and neglect dissection in lower risk patients to avoid over-removing of LNs, is a vital question that needs to be clarified.