Prognostic stratification of colorectal cancer patients: current perspectives
Nora I Schneider, Cord Langner
Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
Abstract: Tumor staging according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer/Union for International Cancer Control tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) system is currently regarded as the standard for staging of patients with colorectal cancer. This system provides the strongest prognostic information for patients with early stage disease and those with advanced disease. For patients with intermediate levels of disease, it is less able to predict disease outcome. Therefore, additional prognostic markers are needed to improve the management of affected patients. Ideal markers are readily assessable on hematoxylin and eosin-stained tumor slides, and in this way are easily applicable worldwide. This review summarizes the histological features of colorectal cancer that can be used for prognostic stratification. Specifically, we refer to the different histological variants of colorectal cancer that have been identified, each of these variants carrying distinct prognostic significance. Established markers of adverse outcomes are lymphatic and venous invasion, as well as perineural invasion, but underreporting still occurs in the routine setting. Tumor budding and tumor necrosis are recent advances that may help to identify patients at high risk for recurrence. The prognostic significance of the antitumor inflammatory response has been known for quite a long time, but a lack of standardization prevented its application in routine pathology. However, scales to assess intra- and peritumoral inflammation have recently emerged, and can be expected to strengthen the prognostic significance of the pathology report.
Keywords: colorectal cancer, lymphatic invasion, blood-vessel invasion, perineural invasion, tumor budding, tumor necrosis
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