Routine Elastin Staining in Surgically Resected Colorectal Cancer: Impact on Venous Invasion Detection and its Association with Oncologic Outcomes

Aysegul Sari, David P. Cyr, Amanpreet Brar, David E. Messenger, David K. Driman, Sameer Shivji, Naziheh Assarzadegan, Ari Juda, Carol J. Swallow, Erin D. Kennedy, Mantaj S. Brar, James Conner, Richard Kirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Venous invasion (VI) is a powerful yet underreported prognostic factor in colorectal cancer (CRC). Its detection can be improved with an elastin stain. We evaluated the impact of routine elastin staining on VI detection in resected CRC and its relationship with oncologic outcomes. Pathology reports from the year before (n = 145) and the year following (n = 128) the implementation of routine elastin staining at our institution were reviewed for established prognostic factors, including VI. A second review, using elastin stains, documented the presence/absence, location, number, and size of VI foci. The relationship between VI and oncologic outcomes was evaluated for original and review assessments. VI detection rates increased from 21% to 45% following implementation of routine elastin staining (odds ratio [OR] = 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.8-5.3; P < 0.0001). The second review revealed a lower VI miss rate postimplementation than preimplementation (22% vs. 48%, respectively; P = 0.007); this difference was even greater for extramural VI-positive cases (9% vs. 38%, respectively; P = 0.0003). Missed VI cases postimplementation had fewer VI foci per missed case (P = 0.02) and a trend towards less extramural VI than those missed preimplementation. VI assessed with an elastin stain was significantly associated with recurrence-free survival (P = 0.003), and cancer-specific survival (P = 0.01) in contrast to VI assessed on hematoxylin and eosin alone (P = 0.053 and 0.1, respectively). The association between VI and hematogenous metastasis was far stronger for elastin-detected VI (OR = 11.5; 95% CI: 3.4-37.1; P < 0.0001) than for hematoxylin and eosin-detected VI (OR = 3.7; 95% CI: 1.4-9.9; P = 0.01). Routine elastin staining enhances VI detection and its ability to stratify risk in CRC and should be considered for evaluation of CRC resection specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-212
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Elastin staining
  • Recurrence
  • Survival
  • Venous invasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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