The prognostic and predictive significance of perineural invasion in stage I to III colon cancer: a propensity score matching-based analysis

Chun Hui Chu, I. Li Lai, Bor Kang Jong, Sum Fu Chiang, Wen Sy Tsai, Pao Shiu Hsieh, Chien Yuh Yeh, Jeng Fu You*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) presents with varying prognoses, and identifying factors for predicting metastasis and outcomes is crucial. Perineural invasion (PNI) is a debated prognostic factor for CRC, particularly in stage I-III patients, but its role in guiding adjuvant chemotherapy for node-positive colon cancer remains uncertain. Methods: We conducted a single-center study using data from the Colorectal Section Tumor Registry Database at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan. This prospective study involved 3,327 CRC patients, 1,536 of whom were eligible after application of the exclusion criteria, to investigate the prognostic value of PNI in stage I-III patients and its predictive value for node-positive/negative cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to minimize selection bias, and follow-up was performed with standardized procedures. Results: PNI-positive (PNI+) tumors were associated with higher preoperative CEA levels and more frequent adjuvant chemotherapy. After PSM, PNI + tumors were associated with marginally significantly lower 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and significantly lower overall survival (OS) rates in stages III CRC. However, no significant differences were observed in stages I and II. Subgroup analysis showed that among PNI + tumors, only poorly differentiated tumors had higher odds of recurrence. PNI did not predict outcomes in node-negative colon cancer. Adjuvant chemotherapy benefited PNI + patients with node-positive but not those with node-negative disease. Conclusions: Our study indicates that PNI is an independent poor prognostic factor in stage III colon cancer but does not predict outcomes in node-negative disease. Given the potential adverse effects of adjuvant chemotherapy, our findings discourage its use in node-negative colon cancer when PNI is present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129
Pages (from-to)129
JournalWorld Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 05 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024. The Author(s).


  • Colon cancer
  • Perineural invasion
  • Propensity score matching
  • Survival
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Survival Rate
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Peripheral Nerves/pathology
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant/methods
  • Taiwan/epidemiology
  • Propensity Score
  • Female
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms/pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging


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