Aim of the study: Previous work has indicated that quantification of inflammatory cell reaction is of prognostic value in colorectal cancer. We evaluated the prognostic significance of inflammatory cell reaction patterns in colorectal cancer and developed a grading method which could be used in the routine assessment of tumours.
Methods: The intensity of overall inflammatory cell reaction, numbers of neutrophilic and eosinophilic granulocytes, lymphoid cells and macrophages in both the central region and the invasive margin were estimated in 386 colorectal cancer patients. Prognostic significance was analysed by uni- and multivariate analysis.
Results: Our method for classification of inflammatory reaction was reliable. High-grade inflammation at the invasive margin in Dukes' stage A and B cancers (pT1-2N0 and pT3N0, respectively) was associated with better 5-year-survival (87.6%) than low-grade inflammation (47.0%).
Conclusions: Inflammatory cell response at the invasive border is a relevant prognostic indicator and could be easily incorporated into the routine evaluation of histopathological specimens.