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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jun 20;29(18):2550-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.33.7725. Epub 2011 May 16.

Actual status of distribution and prognostic impact of extramural discontinuous cancer spread in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, National Defense Medical College, 3-2, Namiki, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-8513, Japan.



To clarify the prognostic impact of tumor nodules without residual lymph node (LN) structure (ND) in colorectal cancer and to determine optimal categorization of ND in tumor staging.


A multicenter, retrospective pathologic review was performed for 1716 patients with stages I to III curatively resected colorectal cancer treated at 11 institutions between 1994 and 1998. An additional 2242 patients from nine institutions were enrolled between 1999 and 2003 as a second cohort to validate the results.


LN metastasis (LNM) and ND were observed in 33.7% and 16.0% (smooth-contour nodule [S-ND], 8.2%; irregular-contour nodule [I-ND], 10.7%) of patients in the first cohort. S-ND and I-ND were similarly distributed in the regional area. There was no considerable difference in the impact on survival between S-ND (hazard ratio [HR], 2.7; 95% CI, 1.9 to 3.8) and I-ND (HR, 4.3; 95% CI, 3.3 to 5.8) or between LNM (HR, 4.5; 95% CI, 3.4 to 6.0) and ND (HR, 4.0; 95% CI, 3.1 to 5.3). LNM and ND were similarly associated with the mode of recurrence. Tumor nodules ≥ 5 mm growing with venous/perineural invasion (ND [v/pni+]), judged with 0.61 κ value among 11 observers, had an independent prognostic value for 5-year survival of 42%; similar results were observed in the second cohort.


These results do not support the TNM system in which S-ND is treated differently from I-ND in tumor staging; LNM and ND should be considered together in the same category. The presence of ND (v/pni+) has a considerable adverse prognostic effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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