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This study assesses the role ofpreoperative radiochemotherapy on the number of lymph nodes detected in the tumor-bearing specimen.Retrospective data of 138 patients who underwent surgery for stage II and III rectal cancer withoutpreoperative radiochemotherapy during the period 2004-2006 (control group), compared withprospective data of 46 patients who receivedpreoperative radiochemotherapy during the period 2007-2008 (study group).Positive lymph nodes were detected in 89 patients (64%) in the control group, comparing with 13 patients (28%) in the study group (P< 0.05). A mean of 13.5 (SD 6.4) lymph nodes per specimen were detected in the control patients, while a mean of 6.54 (2.88) lymph nodes per specimen were detected in the study group patients (P < 0.05). A mean of 5.12 (SD 6.4) metastatic lymph nodes per specimen were detected in control group, a mean of 2.15 (SD 0.09) metastatic lymph nodes detected in the study group (P < 0.05).Preoperative radiochemotherapy for advanced rectal cancer significantly decreased the number of lymph nodes detected within the tumor-bearing specimen. This resulted also in significant decrease of metastatic lymph nodes detected in the specimen and fewer stage III (N+) patients diagnosed.