Send to

Choose Destination
Dis Colon Rectum. 2005 Feb;48(2):371-83.

Lymphatic staging in colorectal cancer: pathologic, molecular, and sentinel node techniques.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Isala Klinieken, Locatie Sophia, PO Box 10400, 8000 GK Zwolle, The Netherlands.



Accurate staging in colorectal cancer is important to predict prognosis and identify patients who could benefit from adjuvant therapy. Patients with lymphatic metastasis, Stage III/Dukes C, are generally treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Still, patients without lymphatic metastasis do have relapse as high as 27 percent in five years in Dukes B2. It is hypothesized that these patients have occult (micro)metastasis in their lymph nodes. If these (micro)metastasis can be identified, these patients might benefit from adjuvant therapy. We reviewed the literature on procedures to improve lymph node staging.


An extensive literature search was performed in PubMed ( Using the reference lists, more articles were found.


We found 30 articles about sentinel node in colorectal cancer describing original series. Some groups reported several studies including the same patients. We reported their largest studies. For all other techniques, we only included key articles.


Many techniques to improve staging have been described. The finding of occult (micro)metastasis is of prognostic significance in most studies. The sentinel node technique has been recently described for use in colorectal cancer. Although it seems clear that this technique has prognostic potential, it is not yet been shown in a follow-up study. Furthermore, the finding of occult (micro)metastasis in any technique used has not been shown to be clinically significant. Whether to treat patients with adjuvant therapy if occult (micro)metastasis are found needs to be proven in future studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center