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Zhong Ye, Chun Wang, Limin Guo, Juan P. Palazzo, Zhixing Han, Yinzhi Lai, Jing Jiang, James A. Posey, Atrayee Basu Mallick, Bingshan Li, Li Jiang, and Hushan Yang

Background: Use of chemotherapy in stage II colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial because it improves survival only in some patients. We aimed to develop a statistical model using routine and readily available blood tests to predict the prognosis of patients with stage II CRC and to identify which patients are likely to benefit from chemotherapy. Methods: We divided 422 patients with stage II CRC into a training and a testing set. The association of routine laboratory variables and disease-free survival (DFS) was analyzed. A prognostic model was developed incorporating clinically relevant laboratory variables with demographic and tumor characteristics. A prognostic score was derived by calculating the sum of each variable weighted by its regression coefficient in the model. Model performance was evaluated by constructing receiver operating characteristic curves and calculating the area under the curve (AUC). Results: Significant associations were seen between 5 laboratory variables and patient DFS in univariate analyses. After stepwise selection, 3 variables (carcinoembryonic antigen, hemoglobin, creatinine) were retained in the multivariate model with an AUC of 0.75. Compared with patients with a low prognostic score, those with a medium and high prognostic score had a 1.99- and 4.78-fold increased risk of recurrence, respectively. The results from the training set were validated in the testing set. Moreover, chemotherapy significantly improved DFS in high-risk patients, but not in low- and medium-risk patients. Conclusions: A routine laboratory variable–based model may help predict DFS of patients with stage II CRC and identify high-risk patients more likely to benefit from chemotherapy.

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Dingcheng Shen, Xiaolin Wang, Heng Wang, Gaopo Xu, Yumo Xie, Zhuokai Zhuang, Ziying Huang, Juan Li, Jinxin Lin, Puning Wang, Meijin Huang, Yanxin Luo, and Huichuan Yu

Background: Serum CEA has been widely used to screen for potential recurrent disease after resection in rectal cancer. However, the influence of baseline CEA on the performance of CEA in recurrence surveillance needs to be investigated. Patients and Methods: This longitudinal cohort study included 484 patients with nonmetastatic rectal cancer from 18,013 patients in a prospectively enrolled institutional database program of colorectal disease. Baseline CEA levels were determined before treatment, and CEA-based follow-up tests and examinations were applied in the surveillance after treatment. Results: A total of 62.6% (62/99) overall, 53.5% (23/43) local, and 64.9% (50/77) distant recurrences were seen in patients who had similar CEA levels with their baseline statuses. The sensitivity of elevated CEA levels during surveillance for overall recurrence was significantly lower in patients with negative baseline CEA than in those with elevated baseline CEA levels (41.3% vs 69.4%; P =.007). Moreover, similar results were observed in the surveillance for local (50% vs 61.5%; P =.048) and distant (39.6% vs 72.4%; P =.005) recurrences between these 2 patient groups. However, CEA had comparable and excellent specificity during surveillance for recurrent disease in these groups. The addition of CA19-9 to the CEA assay significantly improved the sensitivity in recurrence surveillance for patients with negative baseline CEA (49.2% vs 41.3%; P =.037). Finally, we identified a subgroup of CEA-turn recurrences characterized by negative CEA at baseline, elevated CEA at recurrence, and worse survival outcomes after recurrence (hazard ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.07–3.30; P =.026). Conclusions: In patients with rectal cancer with negative baseline CEA, serum CEA had insufficient sensitivity in recurrence surveillance after treatment, and additional surveillance may improve oncologic outcomes. Baseline CEA should be considered before CEA-based surveillance can be applied in the follow-up trials.