Lymph Node Evaluation as a Colon Cancer Quality Measure: A National Hospital Report Card

Cancer Programs, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Impact Factor: 12.58). 09/2008; 100(18):1310-7. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djn293
Source: PubMed


Examination of 12 or more regional lymph nodes for colon cancer is associated with improved staging and survival, and the National Quality Forum recently endorsed lymph node examination for colon cancer as a quality surveillance measure. However, information regarding the extent of hospital compliance with the 12-node measure in the United States is lacking.
From the National Cancer Data Base, 1296 hospitals that performed 156 789 colectomies in 1996-1997 and 2004-2005 were identified, and rates of hospital-level compliance (defined as examination of >or=12 nodes in >or=75% of patients) in these two time periods were compared. Multivariable models were developed to determine if hospital type, volume, or differences in case mix were associated with 12-node measure compliance. All statistical tests were two-sided.
In 1996-1997, 15% of hospitals were compliant with the 12-node measure; in 2004-2005 the percentage of compliant hospitals had increased to 38%. From 1996-1997 to 2004-2005, 12-node measure compliance increased at 980 hospitals, remained unchanged at 6 hospitals, and decreased at 310 hospitals. In 2004-2005, National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers were more frequently compliant with the 12-node measure than other academic hospitals, Veterans' Administration hospitals, or community hospitals (78.1% versus 52.4%, 53.1%, and 33.7%, respectively, all P < .001), even after adjustment for differences in characteristics of the colon cancer patients at these hospitals.
This study provides a national report card of nearly 1300 hospitals showing that more than 60% of institutions failed to achieve a compliance benchmark for the 12-node measure. Considerable improvement is needed in colon cancer nodal evaluation in the United States.

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Available from: Mark S Talamonti, Aug 04, 2014
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    • "We postulate that the major reasons are incomplete surgical resection and/or inadequate node sampling, resulting in inaccurate TNM staging. In the United States, more than 60% of colon cancer is under-staged after surgery [15]. At least 12 examined LNs is the benchmark for accurately ascertaining pathological node stage. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Colon cancer with lymph node metastases has been considered as advanced stage and to have poor survival. We postulated that patients with solitary lymph node metastasis are a distinct subset with better colon cancer-specific survival than those with multiple lymph node metastases. Methods In this retrospective study, we searched Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) population-based data and identified 86,674 patients who had been diagnosed with colon cancer without distant metastases and with less than three metastatic nodes between 1991 and 2005. We divided lymph node status into three subgroups: pN0, pN1a, and pN1b and obtained 5-year colon cancer-specific survival for each pT stage. We used Kaplan–Meier and multivariate Cox regression models to assess correlations between risk factors and survival outcomes. Results Analysis of SEER data confirmed that patients with solitary lymph node metastases had better 5-year cancer-specific survival than pN1b according to both univariate and multivariate analysis. This finding was confirmed by further analyses in five pT subgroups. Cancer-specific survival of patients with pT1-2N1a was comparable to that of those with pIIA but higher than those with pIIB. In addition, survival of patients with pT3-4aN1a was better than those with pIIC. Conclusion Colon cancer patients with solitary lymph node metastasis are a distinct subset with a favorable prognosis; full consideration should be given to this in clinical practice.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Cancer
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    • "A total of 68.8% of patients had adequate nodal evaluation, as reflected by more than 12 lymph nodes examined in pathology specimens. This rate is higher than that reported by others [10,16-18], yet still presents an opportunity for improvement. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The Canadian province of Manitoba covers a large geographical area but only has one major urban center, Winnipeg. We sought to determine if regional differences existed in the quality of colorectal cancer care in a publicly funded health care system. Methods This was a population-based historical cohort analysis of the treatment and outcomes of Manitobans diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2004 and 2006. Administrative databases were utilized to assess quality of care using published quality indicators. Results A total of 2,086 patients were diagnosed with stage I to IV colorectal cancer and 42.2% lived outside of Winnipeg. Patients from North Manitoba had a lower odds of undergoing major surgery after controlling for other confounders (odds ratio (OR): 0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.26 to 0.90). No geographic differences existed in the quality measures of 30-day operative mortality, consultations with oncologists, surveillance colonoscopy, and 5-year survival. However, there was a trend towards lower survival in North Manitoba. Conclusion We found minimal differences by geography. However, overall compliance with quality measures is low and there are concerning trends in North Manitoba. This study is one of the few to evaluate population-based benchmarks for colorectal cancer therapy in Canada.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · World Journal of Surgical Oncology
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    • "In our study, we confirmed the importance of district as a source of heterogeneity in cancer colorectal management [4-6] This information could be a confounding factor with the hospital volume procedure, but we took this into account in our multivariate analysis and found an effect for both hospital district and volume. The hospital volume effect on examination of ≥12 LNs has been emphasized recently [23,34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Colorectal cancer (CRC) care has improved considerably, particularly since the implementation of a quality of care program centered on national evidence-based guidelines. Formal quality assessment is however still needed. The aim of this research was to identify factors associated with practice variation in CRC patient care. Methods CRC patients identified from all cancer centers in South-West France were included. We investigated variations in practices (from diagnosis to surgery), and compliance with recommended guidelines for colon and rectal cancer. We identified factors associated with three colon cancer practice variations potentially linked to better survival: examination of ≥12 lymph nodes (LN), non-use and use of adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II and stage III patients, respectively. Results We included 1,206 patients, 825 (68%) with colon and 381 (32%) with rectal cancer, from 53 hospitals. Compliance was high for resection, pathology report, LN examination, and chemotherapy use for stage III patients. In colon cancer, 26% of stage II patients received adjuvant chemotherapy and 71% of stage III patients. 84% of stage US T3T4 rectal cancer patients received pre-operative radiotherapy. In colon cancer, factors associated with examination of ≥12 LNs were: lower ECOG score, advanced stage and larger hospital volume; factors negatively associated were: left sided tumor location and one hospital district. Use of chemotherapy in stage II patients was associated with younger age, advanced stage, emergency setting and care structure (private and location); whereas under-use in stage III patients was associated with advanced age, presence of comorbidities and private hospitals. Conclusions Although some changes in practices may have occurred since this observational study, these findings represent the most recent report on practices in CRC in this region, and offer a useful methodological approach for assessing quality of care. Guideline compliance was high, although some organizational factors such as hospital size or location influence practice variation. These factors should be the focus of any future guideline implementation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · BMC Cancer
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