Molecular Lymph Node Staging with One-Step Nucleic Acid Amplification and its Prognostic Value for Patients with Colon Cancer: The First Follow-up Study

World J Surg. 2021 May;45(5):1526-1536. doi: 10.1007/s00268-020-05949-6. Epub 2021 Jan 29.


Background: Molecular lymph node workup with one-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA) is a validated diagnostic adjunct in breast cancer and also appealing for colon cancer (CC) staging. This study, for the first time, evaluates the prognostic value of OSNA in CC.

Patients and methods: The retrospective study includes patients with stage I-III CC from three centres. Lymph nodes were investigated with haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and with OSNA, applying a 250 copies/μL threshold of CK19 mRNA. Diagnostic value of H&E and OSNA was assessed by survival analysis, sensitivity, specificity and time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curves.

Results: Eighty-seven patients were included [mean follow-up 53.4 months (± 24.9)]. Disease recurrence occurred in 16.1% after 19.8 months (± 12.3). Staging with H&E independently predicted worse cancer-specific survival in multivariate analysis (HR = 10.77, 95% CI 1.07-108.7, p = 0.019) but not OSNA (HR = 3.08, 95% CI 0.26-36.07, p = 0.197). With cancer-specific death or recurrence as gold standard, H&E sensitivity was 46.7% (95% CI 21.3-73.4%) and specificity 84.7% (95% CI 74.3-92.1%). OSNA sensitivity and specificity were 60.0% (95% CI 32.3-83.7%) and 75.0% (95% CI 63.4-84.5%), respectively.

Conclusions: In patients with CC, OSNA does not add relevant prognostic value to conventional H&E contrasting findings in other cancers. Further studies should assess lower thresholds for OSNA (< 250 copies/μL).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy


  • RNA, Messenger