A novel histologic grading scheme based on poorly differentiated clusters is applicable to treated rectal cancer and is associated with established histopathological prognosticators

Michelle Yang, Aseeb Ur Rehman, Chunlai Zuo, Christine E. Sheehan, Edward C. Lee, Jingmei Lin, Zijin Zhao, Euna Choi, Hwajeong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


The conventional histologic grading of colorectal cancer (CRC) is less suited for resected rectal cancer following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. Enumeration of poorly differentiated clusters (PDC) is a recently proposed histologic grading scheme. We aimed to apply PDC grading to treated rectal cancer and to test the prognostic significance of this novel approach. Archived hematoxylin and eosin slides of 72 rectal adenocarcinomas resected following neoadjuvant treatment were retrieved. PDC, tumor budding, and tumor regression were assessed. The parameters were correlated with clinicopathological features and survival. PDC was strongly associated with tumor budding, perineural invasion (PNI), metastasis, and low degree of tumor regression. Tumor budding was significantly associated with lymphovascular invasion and PNI, and metastasis. Tumors with a lower degree of regression were more likely to show high pathologic T stage and advanced clinical stage. Local recurrence was associated with poor survival. PDC did not correlate with overall survival. PDC grading is applicable to resected rectal cancer status post neoadjuvant treatment and correlates with established histopathological prognosticators. PDC and tumor budding may represent a histologic spectrum reflective of the same biological significance. Validation and incorporation of these simple histologic grading schemes may strengthen the prognostic power of the histologic parameters that influence the oncologic outcome in treated rectal cancer. Further study to evaluate the significance of PDC as an oncologic prognosticator is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1510-1518
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016



  • Histologic grading
  • poorly differentiated clusters
  • rectal cancer
  • tumor budding
  • tumor regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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