Preoperative hypoalbuminemia is associated with worse outcomes in colon cancer patients

Ivy N. Haskins, Mary Baginsky, Richard L. Amdur, Samir Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background & aims The National Veterans' Affairs Surgical Risk Study identified preoperative hypoalbuminemia as an independent risk factor for postoperative morbidity and mortality. Since that time, few studies have investigated the use of preoperative markers as tools to risk stratify colon cancer patients. The purpose of our study is to determine if there is an association between preoperative hypoalbuminemia and 30-day patient morbidity and mortality in colon cancer patients using the Targeted-Colectomy American College of Surgeons National Surgery Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP). Methods Stage I, II, and III elective colon resections with ileocolostomy or colocolostomy were identified within the ACS-NSQIP targeted colectomy database from 2012 through 2013. Hypoalbuminemia was defined as albumin <3.5 g/dL. Patients with hypoalbuminemia were compared to those with a normal albumin level in terms of 30-day morbidity and mortality. The albumin level at which point 30-day morbidity and mortality increased was identified. Results A total of 5143 patients met inclusion criteria; 4397 (85.5%) patients had a normal albumin level while 746 (14.5%) had hypoalbuminemia. Preoperative hypoalbuminemia significantly increased the risk of 30-day mortality (p < 0.0001). The association of hypoalbuminemia with 30-day outcomes was more significant in patients who underwent open surgery and had an intra-abdominal anastomosis. The risk of an adverse event was observed to increase at an albumin level ≤3.1 g/dL. Conclusions Preoperative hypoalbuminemia is associated with an increased risk of early patient morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing surgery for colon cancer. Preoperative optimization of this patient population warrants further investigation in order to prevent delay from surgical intervention to adjuvant therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1338
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Albumin
  • Colectomy
  • Colon cancer
  • Malignancy
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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