Background: Approximately 70% of patients who are going to develop tumor recurrence following curative colorectal surgery do so within 24 months of surgery.
Patients and methods: The relationship was prospectively examined between an ongoing acute-phase response and subsequent clinical relapse in 36 colorectal cancer patients who had undergone a curative resection. Approximately 4 months after their operation, patients were grouped according to the presence (n = 15) or absence (n = 21) of an acute-phase response (C-reactive protein > 5 mg/L) and were followed-up for a minimum of 24 months.
Results: Age, tumor site, and serum carcinoembryonic antigen concentrations were similar in both groups. There was a significantly higher recurrence rate in patients with an acute-phase response (11 of 15) compared to those with no acute-phase response (2 of 21, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: These results are consistent with the presence of an acute-phase response being an important predictive factor in the early stages of tumor recurrence in patients who have had apparently curative colorectal surgery.