Proliferative activities in 91 primary gastric carcinomas and 36 corresponding metastatic perigastric lymph nodes were investigated using Ki-67 labeling percentage and an argyrophilic nucleolar organizer region (AgNOR) count. Tumors with a high proliferative activity often metastasized to lymph nodes, and the proliferative activities of the primary lesion and the perigastric lymph node metastases were similar. A significant correlation was recognized between the Ki-67 labeling percentage and the AgNOR count (r = 0.744; P < 0.001). The Ki-67 labeling percentage and AgNOR count proved to be useful predictors of nodal metastasis regardless of tumor size, depth of invasion, and histological type. Even when tumors are smaller (<7 cm) or the stage of the disease is early (pT1, 2), the formation of metastasis increased with an increased Ki-67 labeling percentage or AgNOR count. The combination analysis of depth of invasion with Ki-67 labeling percentage or AgNOR count gives a more precise prediction of nodal metastasis, compared with histological analysis alone.

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