, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 1297-1302
Date: 29 May 2009

Metastatic lymph node ratio is a more precise predictor of prognosis than number of lymph node metastases in stage III colon cancer

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The objective of this study is to assess the value of metastatic lymph node ratio (LNR) in predicting disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with stage III adenocarcinoma of the colon.

Materials and methods

From 1995 to 2003 inclusively, a total of 624 patients featuring stage III adenocarcinoma of the colon underwent curative resection. Of the 624 patients, an adequate number of lymph nodes (n ≥ 12) had been harvested in 490 patients. These patients were stratified into LNR groups 1 (LNR ≤ 0.4), 2 (0.4 < LNR ≤ 0.7), and 3 (LNR > 0.7). Kaplan–Meier survival curve and log-rank test were used to evaluate the prognostic value of LNR. A Cox regression model was used for multivariate analyses.


The 5-year DFS rate was 66.7% for patients with LNR1, 35.1% for those with LNR2, and 0% for patients with LNR3 (p < 0.0001). In T3/4LNR1 patients (n = 411), there was no difference in survival between those with N1 stage and those with N2 stage. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis revealed that N stage (number of positive lymph nodes) was not a significant factor when LNR was taken into consideration.


LNR is a more precise predictor of 5-year DFS than number of positive lymph nodes (N stage) in patients with stage III colon cancer.