The prognostic significance of immunohistochemically detected lymph node micrometastases in colorectal carcinoma

J Pathol. 1994 Feb;172(2):183-7. doi: 10.1002/path.1711720205.


Micrometastases have been detected by immunocytochemical means in the lymph nodes of patients with otherwise node-negative cancer of the colon and rectum. This study examines the incidence and prognostic significance of nodal micrometastases in Dukes' B carcinoma. Five hundred and fifty-nine lymph nodes from 77 cases of Dukes' B carcinoma were examined for lymph node micrometastases by immunocytochemical staining for cytokeratin AE1:AE3. Micrometastases were detected in 19 cases (25 per cent). Cell clusters were present in ten cases, the remaining nine cases displaying only single cells. The presence of micrometastases was unrelated to age (P = 0.06), sex (P = 0.32), tumour site (P = 0.37), tumour size (P = 0.67), or tumour differentiation (P = 0.66). Ten-year survival estimates by the Kaplan-Meier lifetable method was 47 per cent in patients with and without micrometastases (chi 2 = 0.35 and 1 df, P = ns). The presence of nodal micrometastases detectable only by immunocytochemistry in patients with Dukes' B colorectal cancer does not justify reassignment to a more advanced disease stage.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Incidence
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate


  • Keratins