To identify rates of positive circumferential resection margin (CRM) for colon cancer surgery in the U.S.
CRM is one of the most important determinants of local control in colorectal cancers. The extent to which CRM involvement exists after colon cancer surgery is unknown.
Colon cancer cases with resection 2010-2015 were identified from the National Cancer Data Base. Adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics, comparisons were made between cases with CRM >1 mm (negative margin) and those with margin involved with tumor or ≤1 mm (positive margin, CRM+). Hospital-level analysis was performed, examining observed-to-expected CRM+ rates.
In total, 170,022 cases were identified: 150,291 CRM- and 19,731 CRM+ (11.6%). Pathologic T-category was the greatest predictor of CRM+, with higher rates in pT4(25.8%), pT4A(24.7%), and pT4B(31.5%) versus pT1(4.5%), pT2(6.3%) and pT3 (10.9%, P < 0.001). Within pT4 patients, predictors of CRM+ included signet-ring histology (38.1% vs. 26.7% non-mucinous, and 26.9% mucinous adenocarcinoma, P < 0.001), removing < 12 lymph nodes (36.5% vs. 26.1% ≥12, P < 0.001), community facilities (32.7%) vs. academic/research (23.6%, P < 0.001), year (30.1% 2010 vs. 22.6% 2015, P < 0.001), and hospital volume (24.5% highest quartile vs. 32.7% lowest, P < 0.001). Across 1,288 hospitals, observed-to-expected ratios for CRM+ ranged from 0 to 7.899; 429 facilities had higher than expected rates.
Overall rate of CRM+ in U.S. colon cancer cases is high. Variation exists across hospitals, with higher than expected rates in many facilities. Although biology is a major influencing factor, CRM+ rates represent an area for multidisciplinary improvement in quality of colon cancer care.