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Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2008 Jul;7(4):240-6. doi: 10.3816/CCC.2008.n.031.

Lymph node evaluation in early-stage colon cancer.

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  • 1Division of General Surgery, Keenan Research Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Accurate nodal staging is of crucial importance in patients with nonmetastatic colon cancer, because it affects patient prognosis and delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy. In this article, we review the role of 2 controversial aspects of lymph node staging in colon cancer: the number of lymph nodes evaluated and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy. Although it is clear that the number of lymph nodes assessed correlates with patient survival, the underlying mechanisms are far more uncertain, and thus, more research is warranted to determine whether interventions to increase nodal assessment will lead to improved patient outcomes. Sentinel lymph node biopsy does not appear to have the same advantages in the treatment of patients with colon cancer as in the treatment of patients with breast cancer or melanoma. Also, it might not improve colon cancer staging above standard pathology, and should be restricted to use in research settings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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