Mucinous adenocarcinoma (MAC) is a histological subtype of colorectal cancer. The oncologic behavior of MAC differs from nonmucinous adenocarcinoma (non-MAC). Our aim in this study was to characterize patients with colorectal MAC through evaluation of a large, institutional-based cohort with long-term follow-up.
A total of 6475 patients with stages I to III colorectal cancer who underwent radical surgery were enrolled from January 2000 to December 2010. Prognostic comparison between MAC (n = 274, 4.2%) and non-MAC was performed.
The median follow-up period was 48.0 months. Patients with MAC were younger than those without MAC (P = 0.012) and had larger tumor size (P < 0.001), higher preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen (P < 0.001), higher pathologic T stage (P < 0.001), more right-sided colon cancer (49.3%, P < 0.001), and more frequent high-frequency microsatellite instability (10.2%, P < 0.001). Five-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 76.5% in the MAC group and 83.2% in the non-MAC group (P = 0.008), and 5-year overall survival was 81.4% versus 87.4%, respectively (P = 0.005). Mucinous histology (MAC vs non-MAC) in the entire cohort was not an independent prognostic factor of DFS but had a statistical tendency (P = 0.071). In subgroup analysis of colon cancer without rectal cancer, mucinous histology was an independent prognostic factor (P = 0.026).
MAC was found at more advanced stage, located mainly at the right side and was an independent factor of survival in colon cancer. Because of the unique biological behavior of MAC, patients with MAC require special consideration during follow-up.