Dig Surg 2015 19;32(4):269-74. Epub 2015 Jun 19.
Department of Surgery, Sint Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Aim: To investigate the influence of individual surgeons and pathologists on examining an adequate (i.e. ≥10) number of lymph nodes in colon cancer resection specimens.
Patients And Methods: The number of lymph nodes was evaluated in surgically treated patients for colon cancer at our hospital from 2008 through 2010, excluding patients who had received neo-adjuvant treatment. The patient group consisted of 156 patients with a median age of 73 (interquartile range (IQR) 63-82 years) and a median of 12 lymph nodes per patient (IQR 8-15). In 106 patients (67.9%), 10 or more nodes were histopathologically examined.
Results: At univariate analysis, the examination of ≥10 nodes was influenced by tumour size (p = 0.05), tumour location (p = 0.015), type of resection (p = 0.034), individual surgeon (p = 0.023), and pathologist (p = 0.005). Neither individual surgeons nor pathologists did statistically and significantly influence the chance of finding an N+ status. Age (p = 0.044), type of resection (p = 0.007), individual surgeon (p = 0.012) and pathologist (p = 0.004) were independent prognostic factors in a multivariate model for finding ≥10 nodes.
Conclusion: Though cancer staging was not affected in this study, individual efforts by surgeons and pathologists play a critical role in achieving optimal lymph node yield through conventional methods.