[Lymph node preparation in colorectal cancer. Ex vivo methylene blue injection as a novel technique to improve lymph node visualization]

Pathologe. 2008 Jul;29(4):274-9. doi: 10.1007/s00292-007-0950-6.
[Article in German]


The UICC requires investigation of a minimum of 12 lymph nodes for adequate lymph node staging in colorectal cancer. Despite that, many authors recommend investigation of a larger number, and different techniques, such as fat clearance, have therefore been developed. In this study we introduce a novel technique involving ex vivo lymph node staining with intraarterial methylene blue injection in colon cancer. We compared 14 cases in which methylene injection was used with 14 cases from our records in which conventional investigation techniques were applied. The lymph node harvest differed highly significantly (p<0.001) between the two groups, with average numbers of 28+/-7 and 14+/-3 in the methylene blue group and the unstained group, respectively. The largest difference occurred in the size group 2-4 mm (191 vs 70 lymph nodes). In 6 cases in the unstained group additional embedding of fatty tissue was necessary to reach an adequate number of investigated lymph nodes. Methylene blue injection is a novel and highly effective method that will improve lymph node preparation in colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Methylene Blue / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Methylene Blue