Background: Preoperative elevation of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) has been reported to be a prognostic indicator in gastric carcinoma and colorectal carcinoma. The aim of this study was to establish the significance of preoperative elevation of serum CRP as an indicator of prognosis in patients with esophageal carcinoma. Methods: Two hundred sixty-two patients with esophageal carcinoma who had been treated by esophageal resection and reconstruction of digestive tracts were evaluated, excluding patients with neoplasms in other organs. Preoperative serum CRP was measured, and the relation between the elevation of serum CRP and the clinicopathological factors and prognosis of the patients was investigated. Results: The mean size of the tumors and the proportions of lymph node metastasis and lymphatic invasion were significantly larger in patients with preoperative elevation of serum CRP than in patients without preoperative elevation of serum CRP (5.8 ± 2.5 cm versus 4.8 ± 2.5 cm, P <0.01, 59.5% versus 35.4%, P <0.001, and 35.7% versus 23.6%, P <0.05, respectively). 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates in patients with preoperative elevation of serum CRP (60.6%, 18.4%, and 11.5%, respectively) were significantly lower than those in patients without preoperative elevation of serum CRP (88.7%, 70.9%, and 68.4%, respectively; P <0.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the preoperative elevation of serum CRP was an independent prognostic factor in esophageal carcinoma (P <0.0001). Conclusions: The preoperative serum elevation of CRP can be a marker of the malignant potential of the tumor and an independent prognostic indicator in esophageal carcinoma.
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