Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently reported malignancy and also the third leading cancer-related cause of death worldwide. Lymph node evaluation, both preoperatively and postoperatively, represents an important aspect of the diagnosis and therapeutic strategy in colorectal cancer, such that an accurate preoperative staging is required for a correct therapeutic strategy. Treatment of rectal cancer with positive lymph nodes, a very important predictive prognostic parameter, is currently based on neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by total/ surgical mesorectal excision and adjuvant regimen.
Preoperative evaluation of the lymph node status in rectal cancer is based on endoscopic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, but their accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity still require improvement. Postoperative evaluation also presents points of debate, especially related to the role of sentinel lymph node mapping and their final implication, represented by detection of micrometastases and isolated tumor cells. The pathologic interpretation of tumor deposits represents other points in discussion. From a surgical perspective, extended lateral lymph node dissection vs. abstinence and (neo)adjuvant therapeutic approach represent another unresolved issue.
This review presents the major controversies existing today in the treatment and pathologic interpretation of the lymph nodes in rectal cancer, the role/ indication and value of the lateral pelvic lymph node dissection, and the postoperative interpretation of the value of the micrometastatic disease and tumor deposits.
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Diaconescu, Marian; Obleaga, Cosmin V.; Mirea, Cecil S.; Ciorbagiu, Mihai C.; Moraru, Emil; and Vilcea, Ionica D.
"Mandatory multidisciplinary approach for the evaluation of the lymph node status in rectal cancer,"
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences: Vol. 5
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/jmms/vol5/iss1/6