RATIONALE: Diagnostic procedures, such as lymphography, may improve the identification of
patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
PURPOSE: Clinical trial to study the effectiveness of lymphography in determining the
presence or absence of metastatic colorectal cancer in patients.
OBJECTIVES: I. Confirm that injection of isosulfan blue into the mucosa or serosa
immediately adjacent to a colorectal cancer results in the lymphatic transport of that agent
initially to a specific regional lymph node that can readily be identified on visual
inspection, dissected, and histologically evaluated for the presence or absence of
OUTLINE: All patients receive an injection of isosulfan blue into peritumor serosa upon
intraoperative identification of the primary tumor, prior to mesenteric mobilization. If
colonoscopy is otherwise indicated, the injection may be delivered to the peritumor mucosa
via colonoscopy during the case. The mesentery adjacent to the injection is inspected and
the lymphatic pattern and nodes demonstrated by the isosulfan blue are diagrammed and
photographed. The sentinel node(s) are surgically dissected and evaluated. If needed, a
second injection of isosulfan blue may be given. Prior to mobilization of liver for
resection of metastases, isosulfan blue is injected subcapsularly around the metastatic
PROJECTED ACCRUAL: There will be 10 patients accrued into this study.
DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Patients must be undergoing surgical resection of a colorectal
primary adenocarcinoma Metastatic colorectal cancer to liver (hepatic metastases) allowed
PATIENT CHARACTERISTICS: Age: 18 to 75 Performance status: Not specified Life expectancy:
Not specified Hematopoietic: Not specified Hepatic: Not specified Renal: Not specified
Other: No known or suspected allergy to isosulfan blue Not pregnant
PRIOR CONCURRENT THERAPY: See Disease Characteristics