Indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence imaging-guided lymphadenectomy has been demonstrated to be effective in increasing the number of lymph nodes (LNs) retrieved in laparoscopic gastrectomy for gastric cancer (GC). Previously, we reported the primary outcomes and short-term secondary outcomes of a phase 3, open-label, randomized clinical trial (NCT03050879) investigating the use of ICG for image-guided lymphadenectomy in patients with potentially resectable GC. Patients were randomly (1:1 ratio) assigned to either the ICG or non-ICG group.

The primary outcome was the number of LNs retrieved and has been reported. Here, we report the primary outcome and long-term secondary outcomes including three-year overall survival (OS), three-year disease-free survival (DFS), and recurrence patterns. The per-protocol analysis set population is used for all analyses (258 patients, ICG [n = 129] vs. non-ICG group [n = 129]). The mean total LNs retrieved in the ICG group significantly exceeds that in the non-ICG group (50.5 ± 15.9 vs 42.0 ± 10.3, P < 0.001). Both OS and DFS in the ICG group are significantly better than that in the non-ICG group (log-rank P = 0.015; log-rank P = 0.012, respectively).

There is a difference in the overall recurrence rates between the ICG and non-ICG groups (17.8% vs 31.0%). Compared with conventional lymphadenectomy, ICG guided laparoscopic lymphadenectomy is safe and effective in prolonging survival among patients with resectable GC.

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