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Colon Cancer Survival Linked to Lymph Node Analysis

The number of lymph nodes evaluated directly associated with survival of stages II and III of the disease

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- There is a direct association between survival rates for stage II and III colon cancer and the number of lymph nodes that are evaluated after surgical resection, according to a meta-analysis in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

George J. Chang, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues analyzed data on 61,371 patients from 17 studies conducted in nine countries. The studies included two multicenter randomized trials of adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer, five observational studies and 10 retrospective cohort studies.

In 16 of the studies, there was an association between the number of lymph nodes evaluated and survival of stage II colon cancer patients, and four of the six studies containing data on patients with stage III colon cancer also indicated a similar association.

"Recent reports have found that few patients in the United States, Canada, France, the Netherlands or Sweden are undergoing an adequate lymph node evaluation. Given the results in our systematic review, efforts to improve lymph node evaluation should result in clinically significant improvements in outcome and also the quality of care for patients with colon cancer," the authors conclude.

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