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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 16;8(7):e68526. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068526. Print 2013.

Clinical and pathologic factors affecting lymph node yields in colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan.



Lymph node yield is recommended as a benchmark of quality care in colorectal cancer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of various factors upon lymph node yield and to identify independent factors associated with lymph node harvest.


The records of 162 patients with Stage I to Stage III colorectal cancers seen in one institution were reviewed. These patients underwent radical surgery as definitive therapy; high-risk patients then received adjuvant treatment. Pathologic and demographic data were recorded and analyzed. The subgroup analysis of lymph node yields was determined using a t-test and analysis of variants. Linear regression model and multivariable analysis were used to perform potential confounding and predicting variables.


Five variables had significant association with lymph node yield after adjustment for other factors in a multiple linear regression model. These variables were: tumor size, surgical method, specimen length, and individual surgeon and pathologist. The model with these five significant variables interpreted 44.4% of the variation.


Patients, tumor characteristics and surgical variables all influence the number of lymph nodes retrieved. Physicians are the main gatekeepers. Adequate training and optimized guidelines could greatly improve the quality of lymph node yields.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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