The prognostic role of para-aortic lymph nodes in patients with colorectal cancer: Is it regional or distant disease?

Hsueh Ju Lu, Jen Kou Lin, Wei Shone Chen, Jeng Kai Jiang, Shung Haur Yang, Yuan Tzu Lan, Chun Chi Lin, Chien An Liu, Hao Wei Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Visible para-aortic lymph nodes of ≥2 mm in size are common metastatic patterns of colorectal cancer (CRC) seen on imaging. Their prognostic value, however, remains inconclusive. We aimed to assess the prognostic role of visible para-aortic lymph nodes (PALNs). Methods: Patients with confirmed pathologic diagnosis of CRC were enrolled. Correlations among clinicopathologic variables were analyzed using the χ2 test. The Cox proportional hazards model was applied for univariate and multivariate analyses. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. A prognostic model for visible PALNs in CRC patients was established. Results: In total, 4527 newly diagnosed CRC patients were enrolled. Patients with visible PALNs had inferior overall survival compared to those without visible PALNs (5-year overall survival, 67% vs. 76%, P = 0.015). Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) (hazard ratio = 1.865, P = 0.015); nodal disease (pN+) status (hazard ratio = 2.099, P = 0.006); elevated preoperative serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels (hazard ratio = 2.263, P < 0.001); and visible PALNs ≥10 mm (hazard ratio = 1.638, P = 0.031) were independent prognostic factors for patients with visible PALNs. If each prognostic factor scored one point, 5-year overall survival of lower- (prognostic score 0-1), intermediate- (prognostic score 2), and high- (prognostic score 3-4) risk groups were, 78%. 54%, and 25% respectively (P < 0.001). Conclusions: The prognostic model, which included LVI, pN+ status, preoperative serum CEA level, and the size of visible PALNs, could effectively distinguish the outcome of patients with visible PALNs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0130345
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2015


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