Assessing the histopathology reports of colorectal carcinoma surgery: An audit of three years with emphasis on lymph node yield

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jun 24. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_1059_19. Online ahead of print.


Background: A comprehensive histopathology report of colorectal carcinoma surgery is important in cancer staging and planning adjuvant treatment. Our aim was to review histopathology reports of operated specimens of colorectal carcinoma in our institution between 2013 and 2015 to assess different histological parameters, including lymph node yield, and to evaluate compliance to minimum data sets.

Methods: After approval by the institutional review board (IRB), we analyzed 1230 histopathology reports of colorectal carcinoma between 2013 and 2015. Various gross and microscopic findings (along with age, sex) were noted, for example, specimen type, tumor site, resection margins including circumferential resection margin (CRM), lymphovascular invasion, perineural invasion, pTNM stage, lymph node yield, etc.

Results: Out of 1230 patients, 826 (67.15%) were men and 404 (32.85%) were women. The overall mean age was 52 (range: 18 - 90) years. There were 787 surgeries for rectal cancers. All reports commented on the type of specimen, tumor size (mean = 4.38 cm), proximal, and distal margins. Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and the pT stage were mentioned in 98.06% and 99.84%, respectively. The overall mean lymph node yield was 18.38 (median = 15, range = 0-130 lymph nodes). A statistically significant difference in lymph node yield was detected between rectal and colonic cancer patients (14.79 and 27.26); post neoadjuvant therapy (NACT) cases, and NACT naive cases (13.51 and 25.11); and high tumor stage and low tumor stage disease (20.60 and 15.22). Not commenting on extramural vascular emboli, tumor budding, and CRM in non-rectal cancer cases were the lacunae.

Conclusion: Our compliance with minimal data sets is satisfactory. The overall mean lymph node yield was 18.38 (median = 15). Extramural vascular emboli, tumor budding need to be captured.

Keywords: Colorectal neoplasms; lymph nodes; pathology.