Prognostic impact of lymph node skip metastasis in Stage III colorectal cancer

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic impact of lymph node skip metastasis (LNSM) in patients with Stage III colorectal cancer.

Method

Between April 2003 and December 2014, a total of 41 patients with lymph node skip metastasis (skip+) were compared with 86 patients with pericolic lymph node metastases [lymph node distribution (LND)1] and 57 patients with intermediate and/or main lymph node metastasis (LND2+3). All patients had radical D3 lymphadenectomy, performed either laparoscopically or as open surgery.

Results

The frequency of pT1–2 stage cancer was significantly higher in the skip+ group than in the LND1 group (26.8% vs 5.8%, P = 0.001). The number of metastatic lymph nodes in the skip+ group was lower than in the LND2+3 group (1.9 ± 1.5 vs 6.5 ± 6.0, P < 0.001). The 3-year disease-free survival (DFS) of the skip+, LND1 and LND2+3 groups was 64.8%, 69.7% and 40.1%, respectively (P = 0.008). The 3-year systemic recurrence rates of the skip+, LND1 and LND2+3 groups were 30.2%, 20.3% and 48.1%, respectively; (P = 0.002). Cox regression analysis revealed that preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) of ≥ 5 ng/ml [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.2, P = 0.029], poor differentiation (HR = 3.8, P = 0.001) and skip+ (HR = 0.2, P = 0.021) were independently prognostic factors for DFS.

Conclusion

The prognosis for the LND1-negative lymph node skip metastasis group was better than for the LND2+3 group and was comparable with that of the LND1 group after radical D3 lymphadenectomy.

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