Pathologic Nonresponders after Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation for Esophageal Cancer Demonstrate no Survival Benefit Compared with Patients Treated with Primary Esophagectomy

Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.
Annals of Surgical Oncology (Impact Factor: 3.93). 11/2011; 19(5):1678-84. DOI: 10.1245/s10434-011-2078-4
Source: PubMed


Neoadjuvant chemoradiation (NCRT) has become the preferred treatment for patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer. Survival often is correlated to degree of pathologic response; however, outcomes in patients who are found to be pathologic nonresponders (pNR) remain uninvestigated. This study was designed to evaluate survival in pNR to NCRT compared with patients treated with primary esophagectomy (PE).
Using our comprehensive esophageal cancer database, we identified patients treated with NCRT and deemed pNR along with patients who proceeded to PE. Clinical and pathologic data were compared using Fisher's exact and χ(2), whereas Kaplan-Meier estimates were used for survival analysis.
We identified 63 patients treated with NCRT and were found to have a pNR, and 81 patients who underwent PE. Disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were significantly decreased in the pNR group compared with those treated with PE (10 vs. 50 months (0-152), P < 0.001 and 13 vs. 50 months (0-152), P < 0.001, respectively). For patients with stage II disease, DFS and OS were similarly decreased in pathologic nonresponders (13 vs. 62 months (0-120), P < 0.001 and 31 vs. 62 months (0-120), P = 0.024, respectively). There were no differences in DFS or OS for patients with stage III disease (10 vs. 14 months (0-152), P = 0.29 and 10 vs. 19 months (0-152), P = 0.16, respectively).
Pathologic nonresponders to NCRT for esophageal cancer receive no benefit in DFS or OS compared with patients treated with PE. For patients with stage II disease, DFS and OS are, in fact, significantly decreased in the pNR.

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    • "A pCR occurs in approximately 15 to 30% of cases, and approximately 60% of patients in whom pCR is achieved survive beyond five years, irrespective of the actual treatment protocol or tumor histology [4-6]. Conversely, for patients who do not respond to nCRT, the prognosis was even poorer than for patients who received primary surgery [7]. In these cases, valuable treatment time was lost, patients unnecessarily experienced severe CRT toxicity, and may even have lost the opportunity to have potentially curative surgery. "
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    ABSTRACT: Backgrounds In this study, we evaluated the factors associated with a pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Methods Pre-nCRT parameters in ESCC patients treated between 1999 and 2006 were analyzed to identify predictors of pCR. All patients received 5-fluorouracil/cisplatin-based chemotherapy and external beam radiation followed by scheduled esophagectomy. Variables were analyzed using univariate and multivariate analyses with pCR as the dependent variable. Estimated pCR rate was calculated with a regression model. Results Fifty-nine (20.9%) of 282 patients achieved pCR. Univariate analysis identified four patient factors (age, smoking status, drinking history and hypertension), one pre-nCRT parameter (tumor length) as significant predictors of pCR (all P <0.05). On multivariate analysis, tumor length ≤3 cm (favorable, odds ratio (OR): 4.85, P = 0.001), patient age >55 years (favorable, OR: 1.95, P = 0.035), and being a non-smoker (favorable, OR: 3.6, P = 0.003) were independent predictors of pCR. The estimated pCR rates based on a logistic regression including those three predictors were 71%, 35 to approximately 58%, 19 to approximately 38%, and 12% for patients with 3, 2, 1 and 0 predictors, respectively. Conclusion Age, smoking habit and tumor length were important pCR predictors. These factors may be used to predict outcomes for ESCC patients receiving nCRT, to develop risk-adapted treatment strategies, and to select patients who could participate in trials on new therapies.
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