An increased number of negative lymph nodes is associated with a higher immune response and longer survival in colon cancer patients
Received 17 December 2017
Accepted for publication 15 February 2018
Published 18 June 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 1597—1604
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Leylah Drusbosky
Wen-Zhuo He,1,* Qian-Kun Xie,1,* Wan-Ming Hu,2–4,* Peng-fei Kong,1 Lin Yang,1 Yuan-Zhong Yang,2 Chang Jiang,1 Chen-Xi Yin,1 Hui-Juan Qiu,1 Hui-Zhong Zhang,2 Bei Zhang,1 Liang-Ping Xia1
1VIP Region, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pathology, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Pathology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this work
Background: The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship among the number of negative lymph nodes (LNs), the local and systemic immune response, and survival in patients with colon cancer.
Patients and methods: One thousand one hundred and fifty-seven patients with colon cancer who underwent surgery at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center between 2009 and 2014 were included. We examined negative LNs in relation to the local and systemic immune response, including percentage carcinoma, neutrophil and lymphocyte infiltration, Crohn’s-like reaction, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, platelets, and C-reactive protein (CRP). Disease-free survival and overall survival were also examined. We performed subgroup analysis based on the distribution of negative LNs.
Results: An increased number of negative LNs was associated with greater neutrophil invasion (p=0.001), more lymphocyte invasion (p=0.001), and more Crohn’s-like reaction (p=0.001). No significant correlation was observed between negative LNs and the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio. More than 12 negative LNs were associated with increased platelets and CRP levels. A higher number of negative LNs was independently associated with longer disease-free survival in stage I+II patients (p=0.004) and stage III patients (p=0.015), while negative LNs were also independent prognostic factors in stage IV patients (p=0.007).
Conclusion: Our study suggests that negative LNs are indicators of the immune response and are associated with a better prognosis in patients with colon cancer.
Keywords: colon cancer, negative lymph nodes, immune response, survival
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