Background and objectives: Lymph node (LN) involvement by esophageal cancer is associated with compromised long-term prognosis. This study assessed whether LN downstaging by neoadjuvant treatment (NAT) might offer a survival benefit compared to patients with a priori negative LN.
Methods: Patients undergoing esophagectomy for cancer between 2005 and 2014 were screened for inclusion. Group 1 included cN0 patients confirmed as pN0 who were treated with surgery first, whereas group 2 included patients initially cN+ and down-staged to ypN0 after NAT. Survival analysis was performed with the Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods.
Results: Fifty-seven patients were included in our study, 24 in group 1 and 33 in group 2. Group 2 patients had more locally advanced lesions compared to a priori negative patients, and despite complete LN sterilization by NAT they still had worse long-term survival. Overall 3-year survival was 86.8% for a priori LN negative versus 63.3% for downstaged patients (P = 0.013), while disease-free survival was 79.6% and 57.9%, respectively (P = 0.021). Tumor recurrence was also earlier and more disseminated for the down-staged group.
Conclusions: Downstaged LN, despite the systemic effect of NAT, still inherit an increased risk for early tumor recurrence and worse long-term survival compared to a priori negative LN.
Keywords: downstaging; esophageal cancer; esophagectomY; lymph node metastasis; neoadjuvant treatment.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.