The prognostic value of tumor budding in a thoroughly characterized stage II colon cancer population in the context of a national screening program

Hum Pathol. 2024 Apr:146:15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2024.02.010. Epub 2024 Feb 28.


Tumor budding as a prognostic marker in colorectal cancer has not previously been investigated in a cohort of screened stage II colon cancer patients. We assessed the prognostic significance of tumor budding in a thoroughly characterized stage II colon cancer population comprising surgically resected patients in the Region of Southern Denmark from 2014 to 2016. Tumors were re-staged according to the 8th edition of UICC TNM Classification, undergoing detailed histopathological evaluation and tumor budding assessment following guidelines from the International Tumor Budding Consensus Conference. Prognostic evaluation utilized Kaplan-Meier curves, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazard models for time to recurrence (TTR), recurrence-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS). Out of 497 patients, 20% were diagnosed through the national colorectal cancer screening program. High-grade tumor budding (Bd3) was found in 19% of tumors and was associated with glandular subtype, perineural invasion, mismatch repair proficient tumors, and tumor recurrence (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.045, and p = 0.007 respectively). In multivariable Cox regression, high-grade budding was a significant prognostic factor for TTR compared to low-grade (Bd3 HR 2.617; p = 0.007). An association between tumor budding groups and RFS was observed, and the difference was significant in univariable analysis for high-grade compared to low-grade tumor budding (Bd3 HR 1.461; p = 0.041). No significant differences were observed between tumor budding groups and OS. High-grade tumor budding is a predictor of recurrence in a screened population of patients with stage II colon cancer and should be considered a high-risk factor in a shared decision-making process when stratifying patients to adjuvant chemotherapy.

Keywords: Directed acyclic graph; Screening; Survival; Tumor budding; UICC stage II colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging*
  • Prognosis