The prognostic value of micrometastasis in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains controversial. The study investigated whether lymph node (LN) micrometastasis can have prognostic value in CRC as compared with macrometastasis. The study included 488 patients with curatively resected stage I, II, or III CRC treated between 2004 and 2011. Immuohistochemical staining with monoclonal antibody CAM5.2 was performed on negative LNs by hematoxylin-eosin staining. The prognostic value of LN micrometastasis was investigated in multivariate analysis. Regression analysis was performed to identify a causal relationship between micro- and macrometastasis. Survival differences were compared between conventional N staging and hypothetic N staging taking micrometastasis in the positive node. A total of 93 patients (19.1%) showed LN micrometastasis. Patients with micrometastasis had more advanced tumor characteristics in terms of tumor size, grade, T stage, N stage, lymphatic invasion, and vascular invasion. In multivariate analysis, micrometastasis was not related with recurrence. Preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen level, neural invasion, and macrometastasis were independent risk factors in the analysis. Regression analysis showed that there was not a causal relationship between micro- and macrometastasis (R2 = 0.004, P = 0.153). When the cumulative numbers of micro- and macrometastatic LNs were calculated together, the discriminative power of survival difference between each node stage became less prominent, compared with conventional N staging. LN micrometastasis is related with advanced tumor characteristics, but does not reflect poor prognosis in nonmetastatic CRC. Micrometastasis cannot be considered as positive LN to predict poor prognosis.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2017 Feb|
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