Publication Abstract

Authors: Hanna NN, Onukwugha E, Choti MA, Davidoff AJ, Zuckerman IH, Hsu VD, Mullins CD

Title: Comparative analysis of various prognostic nodal factors, adjuvant chemotherapy and survival among stage III colon cancer patients over 65 years: an analysis using surveillance, epidemiology and end results (SEER)-Medicare data.

Journal: Colorectal Dis 14(1):48-55

Date: 2012 Jan

Abstract: AIM: The prognostic effects of chemotherapy and various lymph node measures [positive nodes, total node count and the positive lymph node ratio (PLNR)] have been established. It is unknown whether the cancer-specific survival benefit of chemotherapy differs across these nodal prognostic categories. METHOD: This retrospective analysis of linked Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data and Medicare data (SEER-Medicare)included patients ≥ 65 years of age with a diagnosis of stage III colon cancer between 1997 and 2002. We grouped patients according to the number of positive nodes (N1 and N2), total node count (≥ 12 and < 12 total nodes) and PLNR (below the 75th percentile and at least at the 75th percentile of the PLNR). The end point was colon cancer-specific mortality. RESULTS: Fifty-one per cent (3701) of the 7263 patients received adjuvant therapy during the time period 1997-2002. The mean (standard deviation) number of total nodes examined was 13 (9) and the number of positive nodes identified was 3 (3). Patients with N2 disease, < 12 total nodes examined and a high PLNR had a worse survival at 2, 3 and 5 years following colectomy. Utilization of chemotherapy demonstrated a colon cancer-specific survival benefit (hazard ratio at median follow up = 0.7; P < 0.001) that was consistent and statistically significant across the three nodal prognostic categories examined. CONCLUSION: The benefit of chemotherapy did not vary based on N stage, total node count or PLNR. The results favour a broad-based approach towards increasing the chemotherapy treatment rates in stage III patients of ≥ 65 years of age, rather than an approach that targets clinical subgroups.