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Venous invasion is a well-established prognostic factor in colorectal cancer and is an independent prognostic indicator of visceral metastases and decreased survival time.1–4 Unfortunately, the use of only conventional haematoxylin and eosin staining to determine the incidence of venous invasion has yielded a wide range of results (10–90%).1–6 In the July 2004 publication of the Journal of Clinical Pathology, Vass et al7 showed that using an elastica stain considerably increased the sensitivity of identifying venous invasion in colorectal cancer. Their study was carried out in a university teaching hospital by a specialist in colorectal pathology, as opposed to the original reports, which were made by a large team of non-specialists. The aim of our study was to determine whether using this technique had a similar benefit in the district general hospital setting with non-specialist reporting.
From our local database of colorectal audit forms, …