Purpose: The recently developed fibroblast activation protein inhibitor (FAPI) tracer for PET/CT, binding tumour-stromal cancer-associated fibroblasts, is a promising tool for detection of positive lymph nodes. This study provides an overview of features, including sizes and tumour-stromal content, of lymph nodes and their respective lymph node metastases (LNM) in colorectal cancer (CRC), since literature lacks on whether LNMs contain sufficient stroma to potentially allow FAPI-based tumour detection. Methods: Haematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue slides from 73 stage III colon cancer patients were included. Diameters and areas of all lymph nodes and their LNMs were assessed, the amount of stroma by measuring the stromal compartment area, the conventional and total tumour-stroma ratios (TSR-c and TSR-t, respectively), as well as correlations between these parameters. Also, subgroup analysis using a minimal diameter cut off of 5.0 mm was performed. Results: In total, 126 lymph nodes were analysed. Although positive correlations were observed between node and LNM for diameter and area (r = 0.852, p < 0.001 and r = 0.960, p < 0.001, respectively), and also between the LNM stromal compartment area and nodal diameter (r = 0.612, p < 0.001), nodal area (r = 0.747, p < 0.001) and LNM area (r = 0.746, p < 0.001), novel insight was that nearly all (98%) LNMs contained stroma, with median TSR-c scores of 35% (IQR 20–60%) and TSR-t of 20% (IQR 10–30%). Moreover, a total of 32 (25%) positive lymph nodes had a diameter of < 5.0 mm. Conclusion: In LNMs, stroma is abundantly present, independent of size, suggesting a role for FAPI PET/CT in improved lymph node detection in CRC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank A.S.L.P. Crobach for his aid and expertise in pathology for the initiation of the project. This work was supported by grants from the Bollenstreekfonds, Lisse, the Netherlands.
This work was supported by grants from the Bollenstreekfonds, Lisse, the Netherlands.
© 2022, The Author(s).
- Cancer-associated fibroblasts
- Colorectal cancer
- Lymph nodes
- Tumour-stroma ratio
- Lymphatic Metastasis/pathology
- Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
- Lymph Nodes/diagnostic imaging
- Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/methods