The Impact of Histologic Subtype on Receipt of Adjuvant Chemotherapy and Overall Survival in Stage III Colon Cancer: a Retrospective Cohort Analysis

J Gastrointest Cancer. 2021 Jun;52(2):719-727. doi: 10.1007/s12029-020-00460-6.


Background: The impact of adjuvant chemotherapy (AT) on resected colon adenocarcinoma based on histologic subtype is poorly defined and extrapolated from patients with advanced disease. We evaluated the receipt and effect of AT on overall survival stratified by histologic subtype-mucinous, non-mucinous, and signet ring adenocarcinomas.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study from 2004 to 2015 was conducted using the National Cancer Database. Patients with colon adenocarcinoma who underwent curative resection with pathologic stage III were included. Appendiceal and rectal tumors were excluded. The predictor variable was histologic subtype, and outcome variables were overall survival and receipt of AT.

Results: Absolute survival was increased for mucinous, non-mucinous, and signet ring tumors with receipt of AT (88.1, 108.9, and 38.1 months, respectively). In multivariable analysis, there was no difference in overall survival for mucinous patients relative to non-mucinous patients. In subgroup analysis, a modest survival advantage for non-mucinous patients relative to the mucinous patients was observed (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.89-0.95). In multivariable modeling, non-mucinous and signet ring adenocarcinoma had decreased odds of receipt of AT relative to mucinous adenocarcinoma patients.

Conclusions: Histologic subtype is an important prognostic factor for overall survival for stage III colon adenocarcinoma. Although the magnitude of the benefit of AT may vary in stage III curatively resected patients, it has a substantial survival benefit across all histologic subtypes. Based on these observations, there is no indication that patients with stage III mucinous adenocarcinoma of the colon should not receive AT. All patients with resected stage III colon cancer should be referred for AT regardless of histologic subtype.

Keywords: Adjuvant chemotherapy; Colon Cancer; Mucinous adenocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / statistics & numerical data
  • Colectomy
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Colon / surgery
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult