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Open Access Research

Ex vivo localization and immunohistochemical detection of sentinel lymph node micrometastasis in patients with colorectal cancer can upgrade tumor staging

Fu-Long Wang, Fang Shen, De-Sen Wan, Zhen-Hai Lu, Li-Ren Li, Gong Chen, Xiao-Jun Wu, Pei-Rong Ding, Ling-Heng Kong and Zhi-Zhong Pan*

Author Affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China; Department of Colorectal Surgery, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-sen University, 651 Dongfengdong Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510060, P. R. China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:71  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-71

Published: 22 June 2012

Abstract

Background

It is not clear if sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping can improve outcomes in patients with colorectal cancers. The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic values of ex vivo sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping and immunohistochemical (IHC) detection of SLN micrometastasis in colorectal cancers.

Methods

Colorectal cancer specimens were obtained during radical resections and the SLN was identified by injecting a 1% isosulfan blue solution submucosally and circumferentially around the tumor within 30 min after surgery. The first node to stain blue was defined as the SLN. SLNs negative by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining were further examined for micrometastasis using cytokeratin IHC.

Results

A total of 54 patients between 25 and 82 years of age were enrolled, including 32 males and 22 females. More than 70% of patients were T3 or above, about 86% of patients were stage II or III, and approximately 90% of patients had lesions grade II or above. Sentinel lymph nodes were detected in all 54 patients. There were 32 patients in whom no lymph node micrometastasis were detected by HE staining and 22 patients with positive lymph nodes micrometastasis detected by HE staining in non-SLNs. In contrast only 7 SLNs stained positive with HE. Using HE examination as the standard, the sensitivity, non-detection rate, and accuracy rate of SLN micrometastasis detection were 31.8% (7/22), 68.2% (15/22), and 72.2%, respectively. Micrometastasis were identified by ICH in 4 of the 32 patients with HE-negative stained lymph nodes, resulting in an upstaging rate 12.5% (4/32). The 4 patients who were upstaged consisted of 2 stage I patients and 2 stage II patients who were upstaged to stage III. Those without lymph node metastasis by HE staining who were upstaged by IHC detection of micrometastasis had a significantly poorer disease-free survival (p = 0.001) and overall survival (p = 0.004).

Conclusion

Ex vivo localization and immunohistochemical detection of sentinel lymph node micrometastasis in patients with colorectal cancer can upgrade tumor staging, and may become a factor affecting prognosis and guiding treatment.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1350200526694475 webcite.

Keywords:
Colorectal carcinoma; Sentinel lymph node; Micrometastasis; Prognosis