Lymph node metastases are the most important predictor of survival in non-stage 4 colon cancer.
Recent studies of gastric cancer have shown a prognostic significance of a lymph node ratio.
The lymph node ratio is the number of positive nodes divided by total number harvested.
|A lymph node ratio of .08 predicted overall survival in all patients|
|American Journal of Surgery|
Dr Carlton Barnett and colleagues from Texas, USA determined whether a lymph node ratio would predict disease-free survival, and overall survival in a tertiary care Veterans Affairs medical center.
The team performed a retrospective review of a prospectively collected database of colon cancer patients.
A cohort of 232 patients with non-stage 4 colon cancer was eligible for analysis.
Survival curves were constructed using the Kaplan-Meier method.
The researchers found that for all patients, a lymph node ratio of .08 was a breakpoint for predicting overall survival, and disease-free survival.
Specific analysis of stage 3 patients revealed that a lymph node ratio of .18 was predictive of disease-free survival.
Dr Schumacher's team concluded, "This study showed the prognostic significance of ratio-based staging for colon cancer and may aid in future staging systems."