Prognostic implications of mucinous histology in stage III colon cancer with the receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy

Background: There is still a debate about the survival benefit of chemotherapy in stage III mucinous colon cancer, we then conduct a comprehensive assessment of the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy in this population.

Methods: The data used in the current study were extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. Chi-squared (χ2) test was used to compared patient characteristics according to the histology. The outcome of the survival analysis used in the current study was cancer-specific survival (CSS). Univariable and multivariable analyses were carried out using the Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate the prognostic characteristics associated with CSS of colon cancer. And the risks of mortality were presented as hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: A total of 68,976 patients diagnosed with stage III colon cancer were included in our analyses, including mucinous adenocarcinoma (MAC, N=6,592) and non-mucinous adenocarcinoma (NMA, N=62,384). In NMA, the receipt of chemotherapy had 46.0% independently decreased risk of colon cancer-specific mortality compared to non-chemotherapy group (HR =0.540, 95% CI: 0.523-0.558, P<0.001). In MAC, the receipt of chemotherapy had 37.7% independently decreased risk of colon cancer-specific mortality compared to non-chemotherapy group (HR =0.623, 95% CI: 0.566-0.685, P<0.001).

Conclusions: MAC was associated with worse prognosis and was less responsive to chemotherapy compared with NMA in stage III colon cancer. However, stage III mucinous colon cancer still need to be treated with chemotherapy because of the significant survival benefit and specialized treatment plans for MAC were quite necessary in the future.

Keywords: Stage III; adjuvant chemotherapy; colon cancer; mucinous; survival.