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Checking More Lymph Nodes Linked To Cancer Patient Survival

Date:
July 23, 2008
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Why do patients with gastric or pancreatic cancer live longer when they are treated at cancer centers or high-volume hospitals than patients treated at low-volume or community hospitals? New research found that cancer patients have more lymph nodes examined for the spread of their disease if they are treated at hospitals performing more cancer surgeries or at comprehensive cancer centers. The result is a more accurate prognosis and treatment decision, which results in improved long-term outcomes.

Why do patients with gastric or pancreatic cancer live longer when they are treated at cancer centers or high-volume hospitals than patients treated at low-volume or community hospitals?

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New research from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine found that cancer patients have more lymph nodes examined for the spread of their disease if they are treated at hospitals performing more cancer surgeries or those designated as comprehensive cancer centers.

Lymph node metastases (indicating the spread of cancer) have been shown to predict patients' prognosis after cancer tissue is removed from the stomach or pancreas. If too few lymph nodes are examined for malignant cells, a patient's cancer may be incorrectly classified, which alters the prognosis, treatment decisions and eligibility for clinical trials.

"The differences in nodal evaluation may contribute to improved long-term outcomes at cancer centers and high-volume hospitals for patients with gastric and pancreatic cancer," said Karl Bilimoria, M.D., lead author of the paper and a surgical resident at the Feinberg School. 

Current guidelines recommend evaluating at least 15 regional lymph nodes for gastric and pancreatic cancer, according to the study.

Researchers reported that patients at a high-volume hospital or a hospital designated as a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center or as part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network were more likely to have at least 15 lymph nodes evaluated than patients undergoing surgery at community or low-volume hospitals.

"Every reasonable attempt should be made to assess the optimal number of lymph nodes to accurately diagnose stage disease in patients with gastric and pancreatic cancer," said Bilimoria, who also is a research fellow at the American College of Surgeons. "The status of patients' lymph nodes is a powerful predictor of their outcome."

The study was published in the July issue of Archives of Surgery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karl Y. Bilimoria; Mark S. Talamonti; Jeffrey D. Wayne; James S. Tomlinson; Andrew K. Stewart; David P. Winchester; Clifford Y. Ko; David J. Bentrem. Effect of Hospital Type and Volume on Lymph Node Evaluation for Gastric and Pancreatic Cancer. Arch Surg., 2008;143(7):671-678 [link]

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Checking More Lymph Nodes Linked To Cancer Patient Survival." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721162305.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2008, July 23). Checking More Lymph Nodes Linked To Cancer Patient Survival. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721162305.htm
Northwestern University. "Checking More Lymph Nodes Linked To Cancer Patient Survival." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721162305.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

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