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Adequacy of Lymph Node Harvesting in Colorectal Cancer Management Improving Standards, Ensuring Quality



Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the adequacy of nodal sampling in resection specimens for colorectal carcinoma in a Jamaican population.

Methods: The pathology records of all patients who underwent operation for colorectal carcinoma at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) during the five-year period, 2003−2007, were reviewed. Pertinent clinical and pathologic data were obtained and analysed.

Results: One hundred and ninety-one patients were identified with M:F ratio of 1.1:1 and a mean age of 66 years. There were 119 (63%) left-sided lesions and 70 (37%) right-sided lesions. Stage T3N0 lesions were the most common and accounted for 41.1% of cases. The predominant histologic type was adenocarcinoma (99.5%) with the majority being moderately differentiated. The mean number of nodes sampled in node-negative cases was 13.8 ± 9.75 nodes for right-sided lesions and 10.64 ± 7.25 nodes for left-sided lesions (p = 0.05, CI 95%). The adequacy of nodal sampling was acceptable in cases of N0 right-sided carcinomas but was unsatisfactory in cases of N0 left-sided carcinomas. More importantly, however, in two cases from the right and 10 cases from the left, two or fewer nodes were harvested.

Conclusion: This review suggests the need for re-examination of the adequacy of surgical resection and/or nodal sampling technique for colorectal cancer resection specimens, given the importance of nodal status in determining the need for adjuvant therapy. Less than adequate node sampling should not be accepted by the reporting pathologist or attending surgeon as this has important prognostic implications.

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e-Published: 19 Aug, 2013
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