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J BUON. 2013 Jul-Sep;18(3):623-8.

Procalcitonin in patients with colorectal cancer.

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Second Department of Surgery, 401 Army General Hospital, Athens, Greece.



Bacterial translocation (BT) is common in colon cancer patients and may be associated with increased occurrence of septic complications as well as with adverse oncologic outcomes. The aim of the present study was to correlate the BT detectable through peritoneal lavage culture or identified by abnormal inflammatory parameters with the clinicopathologic parameters and the short-term prognosis in a prospective series of patients.


Fifty-four consecutive patients with histologically proven colorectal cancer were included in this prospective study. White blood cells (WBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and serum levels of procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were determined and cultures from peritoneal lavage were collected immediately after laparotomy.


Positive PCT was detected in 31 (55.3%) patients while positive cultures were obtained in 6 (11%) patients. Significant positive correlation of PCT with inflammation markers was noticed. Patients with distant metastases had higher serum PCT levels than patients without distant metastases (p=0.01). Borderline statistical significance was found between PCT and tumor grade (p=0.09). PCT was not correlated with the cultures of the lavage or the outcome.


PCT is an adequate inflammatory marker, able to preoperatively discriminate patients with bacterial systemic inflammatory reaction due to BT. However, the clinical consequence of BT may be minimal as is shown by the lack of association of PCT or positive peritoneal lavage cultures with time to discharge, complications and short-term survival.

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