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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2011 Jul;26(7):891-6. doi: 10.1007/s00384-011-1173-0. Epub 2011 Mar 12.

Lymph node ratio is a powerful prognostic index in patients with stage III distal rectal cancer: a Japanese multicenter study.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8519, Japan.



The present study aims to define the prognostic impact of the lymph node ratio (LNR) in patients with stage III distal rectal cancer.


We analyzed data from 501 patients who underwent curative resection (total mesorectal excision, TME) for stage III distal rectal cancer at 12 institutions between 1991 and 1998. Patients were divided into four groups according to quartiles based on LNR.


Among the 501 patients, 381 underwent TME with pelvic sidewall dissection (PSD). The median numbers of lymph nodes retrieved with and without PSD were 45 and 17, respectively (P < 0.0001). Forty-nine patients with lymph node retrieved less than 12 were excluded from further analyses. Among various clinicopathological parameters, univariate analysis identified age (P = 0.0059), histological grade (P < 0.0001), depth of tumor invasion (P = 0.0003), and number of positive nodes (P < 0.0001) and LNR (P < 0.0001) as prognostic factors. The Cox proportional hazards model revealed that age (P = 0.014), histological grade (P < 0.0001), depth of tumor invasion (P = 0.0002), and LNR (group 3, P = 0.0012; group 4, P < 0.0001) were independent prognostic factors. When the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) seventh staging system was added as a covariate, both AJCC stage (P < 0.0001) and LNR (P < 0.0001) were independent prognostic factors.


Adding the LNR concept to the AJCC cancer staging system will improve accuracy in evaluating the nodal status of distal rectal cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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