BACKGROUND: C-reactive protein (CRP) is a product synthesized in hepatocytes and has been reported to be upregulated by such proinflammatory cytokines as interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor. The significance of a preoperative serum elevation in CRP as a predictive indicator for the malignant potential and prognosis in colorectal cancer has not been elucidated. METHOD: One hundred and twenty consecutive patients with colorectal cancer, whose local lesions were resected in our department, were selected. Any patients with inflammatory diseases such as infection or collagen diseases were excluded from the current study. The preoperative serum CRP level was measured, and the relationship between the serum elevation of CRP and both the clinicopathologic factors and prognosis of the patients was investigated. RESULTS: The incidences of liver metastases, peritonitis carcinomatosa, histopathologic lymph nodes metastasis, and intravascular invasion in patients with a preoperatively elevated serum CRP level were significantly more frequent than in those with a negative serum protein level. The survival rates of the patients without a preoperative elevation of the serum CRP proved to be significantly more favorable than that of the patients with such an elevation (P <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A preoperative serum elevation of CRP was thus found to be an indicator of the malignant potential of the tumor as well as a predictor of the prognosis of patients with colorectal cancer.
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