Although stage I and II colon cancers (CC) generally show a very good prognosis, a small proportion of these patients dies from recurrent disease. The identification of high-risk patients, who may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy, becomes therefore essential. We retrospectively evaluated 107 cases of stage I (n = 28, 26.2%) and II (n = 79, 73.8%) CC for correlations among preoperative inflammatory markers, histopathological factors and long-term prognosis. A neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio greater than 3 (H-NLR) and a platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio greater than 150 (H-PLR) were significantly associated with the presence of poorly differentiated clusters (PDC) (p = 0.007 and p = 0.039, respectively). In addition, H-NLR and PDC proved to be significant and independent survival prognosticators for overall survival (OS; p = 0.007 and p < 0.001, respectively), while PDC was the only significant prognostic factor for cancer-specific survival (CSS; p < 0.001,). Finally, the combination of H-NLR and PDC allowed an optimal stratification of OS and CSS in our cohort, suggesting a potential role in clinical practice for the identification of high-risk patients with stage I and II CC.
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