Histopathological variables in liver metastases of patients with stage IV colorectal cancer: potential prognostic relevance of poorly differentiated clusters

Hum Pathol. 2018 Aug;78:115-124. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2018.04.019. Epub 2018 Apr 30.


The prognosis of patients with colorectal liver metastases (LMs) is mostly established on clinical variables or on the anatomic extent of colorectal cancer (CRC). Histopathological factors of LMs which may actually reflect the biological aggressiveness of the tumor are not routinely considered to define the risk of worse clinical outcome in those patients. The number of poorly differentiated clusters (PDCs) of neoplastic cells in primary CRC is associated with metastatic risk and bad prognosis, but PDC presence in LMs has been barely analyzed thus far. We assessed PDC presence in the histological slides of surgically resected and synchronous LMs in 63 patients with CRC who had been not submitted to any neoadjuvant treatments. Then, we analyzed its association with patients' cancer-specific survival (CSS) or progression-free survival. The presence of PDCs (P = .016) and PDC localization at tumor edge of LMs (P = .0004) were significantly associated with shorter CSS. PDC presence at the periphery of LMs and positive resection margin were independent prognostic variables for CSS. PDC localization at the tumor edge of LMs was a significant (P = .0079) and independent prognosticator of shorter progression-free survival. Our data suggest that PDC presence and peripheral localization in LMs may be relevant to predict outcome and useful for clinical decision making in patients with colorectal synchronous LMs.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Liver metastases; PDC; Prognosis; Stage IV; Synchronous.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery