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Perioperative detection of disseminated tumour cells is an independent prognostic factor in patients with colorectal cancer. BJS 2003; 90: 882-888.

Published: 28th February 2003

Authors: B. Bosch, U. Guller, A. Schnider, R. Maurer, F. Harder, U. Metzger et al.


The objective of the present investigation was to assess the prognostic significance of disseminated tumour cells in peritoneal lavage, and peripheral and mesenteric venous blood in patients undergoing curative resection of colorectal cancer.


The prognostic impact of perioperative cytological and immunocytochemical detection of disseminated colorectal cancer cells was evaluated prospectively. Peritoneal lavage fluid, and peripheral and mesenteric venous blood from 53 consecutive patients undergoing curative surgery for colorectal cancer were analysed. The dichotomous results (positive versus negative) from the cytological and immunocytochemical analysis were used as a predictor along with other co‐variates in proportional hazard regression models of disease‐free and overall survival.


Disseminated colorectal cancer cells were found in 13 of 53 patients (25 per cent) using cytology (CYT) and/or immunocytochemistry (ICC). The median follow‐up at the time of the analysis was 37 months. In multivariate proportional hazard regression models CYT/ICC status was a significant predictor for disease‐free (P = 0·002) and overall (P = 0·006) survival.


Disseminated tumour cells detected by CYT and ICC represent an independent prognostic factor in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer and may identify patients at high risk of recurrence. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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