Lymph node harvest after proctectomy for invasive rectal adenocarcinoma following neoadjuvant therapy: Does the same standard apply?

Hao Wang, Bashar Safar, Steven Wexner, Rong Hua Zhao, Marcia Cruz-Correa, Mariana Berho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Recent reports indicate that neoadjuvant therapy significantly reduces the lymph node harvest of rectal cancer. The aim of this study was to interpret the lymph node harvest in this setting based on the primary tumor response. METHODS: All patients undergoing proctectomy were included. Three variables were used as indicators of primary tumor response: ypT stage, tumor size, and tumor regression grade. RESULTS: From 1998 to 2007, 237 patients were identified: 157 in the neoadjuvant therapy group and 80 in the nonneoadjuvant therapy group. Neoadjuvant therapy significantly reduced the number of lymph nodes harvested (P = 0.011). Compared with the nonneoadjuvant group, there were significantly fewer lymph nodes in the neoadjuvant early T stage group (P = 0.001), small tumor size group (P = 0.003), and low tumor regression grade group (P < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference between the nonneoadjuvant group and the neoadjuvant advanced T stage (P = 0.664), large tumor (P = 0.815), and high tumor regression grade groups (P = 0.566). CONCLUSION: The current standard of lymph node harvest should be applied to patients with poorly responding primary tumors after neoadjuvant therapy. However, a new standard may be necessary to define the adequate number of lymph nodes for tumors that respond well to neoadjuvant therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lymph nodes
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Rectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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