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J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 Jan;14(1):96-103. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-1057-6. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Preoperative chemoradiotherapy does not necessarily reduce lymph node retrieval in rectal cancer specimens--results from a prospective evaluation with extensive pathological work-up.

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1
Department of General and Visceral Surgery, University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August-University, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37099 Göttingen, Germany. tsprenger@chirurgie-goettingen.de

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is supposed not only to reduce lymph node metastases but also lymph node recovery in rectal cancer specimens. The objective of this prospective study was to determine the effects of chemoradiation on mesorectal lymph node retrieval under terms of a meticulous histopathological evaluation.

METHODS:

Specimens from 64 consecutive patients with stage II/III rectal cancer receiving preoperative 5-FU-based CRT were investigated. All patients were treated within the German Rectal Cancer Trial CAO/ARO/AIO-04. After surgery (including quality assessed total mesorectal excision), extensive pathological diagnostics was performed with embedding and microscopic evaluation of the whole mesorectal soft tissue compartment.

RESULTS:

A total number of 2,021 lymph nodes were recovered (31.6 per specimen) within pathological work-up. There was no significant correlation between the number of retrieved nodes and patient- as well as tumor-dependent parameters. Lymph node size constantly amounted for less than 0.5 cm. Twenty patients (31.3%) had persistent nodal metastases. A considerable incidence of residual micrometastatic involvement in lymph nodes <0.3 cm (in 9.4% of all patients) was detected by extensive pathologic work-up.

CONCLUSION:

Reliable nodal staging with high numbers of detected nodes was feasible after neoadjuvant CRT. Micrometastases frequently occur in small lymph nodes detected by microscopic evaluation.

PMID:
19830503
PMCID:
PMC2793396
DOI:
10.1007/s11605-009-1057-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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