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Ann Coloproctol. 2013 Jun;29(3):100-5. doi: 10.3393/ac.2013.29.3.100. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

Prognostic impact of the metastatic lymph node ratio on survival in rectal cancer.

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Department of General Surgery, Marmara University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey.



Lymph-node metastasis is the most important predictor of survival in stage III rectal cancer. The number of metastatic lymph nodes may vary depending on the level of specimen dissection and the total number of lymph nodes harvested. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the lymph node ratio (LNR) is a prognostic parameter for patients with rectal cancer.


A retrospective review of a database of rectal cancer patients was performed to determine the effect of the LNR on the disease-free survival (DFS) and the overall survival. Of the total 228 patients with rectal cancer, 55 patients with stage III cancer were eligible for analysis. Survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox regression analyses, after adjustments for potential confounders, were used to evaluate the relationship between the LNR and survival.


According to the cutoff point 0.15 (15%), the 2-year DFS was 95.2% among patients with a LNR < 0.15 compared with 67.6% for those with LNR ≥ 0.15 (P = 0.02). In stratified and multivariate analyses adjusted for age, gender, histology and tumor status, a higher LNR was independently associated with worse DFS.


This study showed the prognostic significance of ratio-based staging for rectal cancer and may help in developing better staging systems. LNR 0.15 (15%) was shown to be a cutoff point for determining survival and prognosis in rectal cancer cases.


Lymph nodes; Prognosis; Rectal neoplasms; Survival

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