Tumour budding and its clinical implications in gastrointestinal cancers


Tumour budding in colorectal cancer has become an important prognostic factor. Represented by single cells or small tumour cell clusters at the invasion front of the tumour mass, these tumour buds seem to reflect cells in a ‘hybrid’ state of epithelial–mesenchymal transition, and evidence indicates that the presence of these entities is associated with lymph node metastasis, local recurrence and distant metastatic disease. The International Tumour Budding Consensus Conference (ITBCC) has highlighted a scoring system for the reporting of tumour budding in colorectal cancer, as well as different clinical scenarios that could affect patient management. Other organs are not spared: tumour budding has been described in numerous gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal cancers. Here, we give an update on ITBCC validation studies in the context of colorectal cancer and the clinical implications of tumour budding throughout the upper gastrointestinal and pancreatico-biliary tract.

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Fig. 1: Tumour budding (visualised by arrows) in different gastrointestinal cancers.


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Zlobec, I., Berger, M.D. & Lugli, A. Tumour budding and its clinical implications in gastrointestinal cancers. Br J Cancer (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-0954-z

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